India assumes presidency in UN Security Council; India calls for UNSC reforms; UNSC calls for prominent role of women in peace process; Mandate of international mission in Somalia extended; UN Secretary-General expresses disappointment over Syrian violenc
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    Reports noted that India assumed the rotating Presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of November. During its presidency, it hopes to reach out to other nations in garnering support for the expansion of the UNSC besides seeking a comprehensive anti-piracy strategy. The agenda for the month includes discussions on Yemen, Libya, Syria, Sudan, the Palestinian question and terrorism. India will also hold thematic debates on the working methods of the UNSC, piracy and peace and security. 1

    In addition, India will showcase its low-cost Aakash tablet at the UN, highlighting the country’s innovation in the ‘most competitively priced’ tablet computer. The Indian mission also plans to distribute a limited number of Aakash tablets to some member states. 2

    In another development, India said that the UNSC in its present structure is ‘completely out of tune’ with global realities and that it serves ‘no one’s purpose’. It added that the UN body remains ‘polarised and politically divided’ on key issues which strengthens the need for reform. India’s representative, H S Puri stated that the non-permanent members of the Council are at a ‘disadvantage’ as by the time they come to grips with a particular issue, it is time for their rotation. 3

    Meanwhile, the UN Security Council called on the international community to give women’s civil society organisations a prominent role in the negotiation, planning and implementation of peace processes and post-conflict development programmes. The Council also endorsed the Secretary-General’s call for a stronger commitment to address challenges to women’s participation in all levels of peacemaking. The international and regional organisations, members and UN envoys were encouraged to promote the active engagement of women’s organisations in all stages of peacemaking and peace-building. 4

    According to reports, the mandate of the international peacekeeping force, African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) was extended. The mission provides support to the Government of Somalia in its efforts to bring peace and stability to the country. The Council authorised the Member states of the African Union to maintain deployment until November 07, 2012. 5

    In the interim, the UN Secretary-General expressed deep disappointment that the call for ceasefire in Syria has not been respected and stressed that the crisis cannot be resolved with more bloodshed. He added that the UN is doing its utmost to ease the humanitarian situation and to set in motion a political solution to the crisis. 6