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No, this is not the first time India has taken over the Presidency of the United Nations Security council

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A post claiming that India has taken over the presidency of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the first time is being widely shared across social media platforms. Through this article let’s fact-check the claim made in the post.

The archived version of the post can be seen here.

Claim: India will take over the presidency of United Nations Security Council for the first time.

Fact: As per the United Nations rules, each member of the UNSC gets an opportunity to act as president of the security council and each member country will take over the presidency for one month in alphabetical order. India was elected as non-permanent member of the UN security council seven times in the past and presided over presidency during these stints. PM Modi will chair an open Debate of the UNSC in virtual mode on 09 August 2021. This will be the 1st time an Indian Prime Minister will preside over Open Debate. However, the presidency of the UNSC is not the first time. Hence the claim made in the post is MISLEADING.

Following the news of India’s turn for the presidency of the UNSC, India’s former envoy to the UN Syed Akbaruddin tweeted stating Prime Minister Modi may perhaps preside one of the UNSC meetings during India’s presidency, making it the first time an Indian PM would preside a meeting. This tweet of the former envoy led to confusion as the tweet was misconstrued and shared across social media platforms as if India took over the presidency of the UNSC for the first time.

It is noteworthy to mention that presiding is not the same as the presidency. Previously, former Indian PM PV Narsimha Rao participated in a UNSC meeting in 1992 though he did not preside the meeting.

The Ministry of External Affairs has tweeted that PM Modi will chair an open Debate of the UNSC in virtual mode on 09 August 2021. This will be the 1st time an Indian Prime Minister will preside over an Open Debate. Usually, ambassadors and envoys preside over the meetings of the security council.

Composition of United Nations Security Council:

UN security council consists of 5 permanent members (US, UK, China, France & Russia) and 10 non-permanent members elected by the general assembly for a term of two years. Further, in order to achieve equitable geographical representation, these 10 non-permanent seats are distributed on a regional basis, which is as follows.

  • Five from African and Asian States
  • One from the Eastern European States
  • Two from the Latin American States
  • Two from Western European and other States

India began its present two-year term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council on 01 January 2021 and will remain as such for two years. As per the United Nations rules, every member country of the UNSC gets an opportunity to act as president of the security council for a month on a rotational basis.  Each member country takes over the presidency for one month in alphabetical order (Presidency is allotted to a country, not to a person). Accordingly, India will hold the presidency for the month of August 2021 and will pass it on to Ireland in September 2021.

However, this is not the first time India is holding the Presidency of the security council. India was elected as a non-permanent member of the security council even in the past in 1950-1951, 1967-1968, 1972-1973, 1977-1978, 1984-1985, 1991-1992 & 2011-2012 during different governments and presided over presidency during these stints.

To sum it up, this is not the first time India has taken over the presidency of the United Nations Security Council.

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