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United Nations: Efforts of Asoke Kumar Mukerji, who worked constantly as India’s top diplomat at the UN, has helped in the start of serious negotiations in Security Council.
His peers at the UN acknowledge the leadership of Mukerji in mobilising support for the text-based negotiations to break decades of deadlock and standing up to last minute machinations against it during his tenure as India’s Permanent Representative that ended in December.
“Ambassador Mukerji is a formidable, professional diplomat, highly competent, highly respected by his peers,” said Antonio Patriota, a former Foreign Minister of Brazil.
“He played a specially significant role in coordinating the L-69, which is a coalition of developing countries, large and small, from Africa, Latin America, Middle East and Asia” that works for Council reform.
“Brazil and India coordinated vigorously on this issue,” said Patriota, now his country’s UN Permanent Representative. Mukerji was a “very articulate spokesman for India, for its democratic and legitimate Security Council representation.”
The reform movement in the UN had been stifled for years mainly by China and a group of 13 countries known as Uniting for Consensus (UfC), which is led by Italy and includes Pakistan.
They created a Catch 22 situation by blocking the adoption of a negotiating text, saying it couldn’t be done unless there was a consensus while a consensus couldn’t be reached without a text on which to base the negotiations.
Sam Kutesa, the President of last General Assembly session, took the decisive step last year to create a negotiating text based on a survey of opinions of member nations on Council reform. Over 120 countries took part in the survey carried out by the Jamaican Permanent Representative, Courtenay Rattray, the former head of the reform process known as the Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN).
On the final day of the last session of the General Assembly, Kutesa, who is also the foreign minister of Uganda, had the negotiating text adopted.
China and Pakistan and other members of the UfC, as well as Russia, were overcome by the breadth of the support for the negotiating text that they ended their opposition and it was adopted unanimously by the Assembly.
But there was a last minute attempt using some UN staffers to sabotage it. Under pressure from China and some other countries, they tried to change the wording of Kutesa’s agreed communication with the negotiating text drafted in July before sending it out.
Mukerji, who has the look of a gentle, grey-haired academic, went on the offensive and, backed by British, French and other diplomats, threatened a walkout from their meeting. The staffers backed down and the agreed text was sent out and eventually adopted.
Mukerji developed ties to key groups of nations, large and small, backed by initiatives in New Delhi like outreach to Pacific island nations, the India-Africa summit and development assistance to various nations.
Patriota noted that beyond his role in the L-69, Mukerji “also established a network of relationships with our colleagues, others the permanent representatives”. And he, along with the IGN, was able to call on this network to support the text-based negotiations.
Mukerji ascribed the success in this and other issues to India interacting in a more inclusive and open manner with other countries. “Inclusiveness gives India the strength,” he said. “That is why we get cooperation from other countries.”
Sylvie Lucas, the Luxembourg Permanent Representative who succeeded Rattray as the head of the IGN, is to convene this week the first meeting that will be based on the negotiating text.
India’s chances of getting a permanent seat on the Council hinge on the outcome of the negotiations.
In a twist to the often-quoted diplomatic dictum that nations have no permanent friends but only permanent interests, despite the unfriendly bout with Beijing on Council reforms, Mukerji turned first to China for getting the UN to declare the International Yoga Day.
Mukerji explained that getting China to endorse the proposal would be seen as a sign of the idea’s universality and get other countries to line up behind it. Even as some in India expressed misgivings about it, 177 nations cosponsored the Yoga Day resolution and Islamic nations supported its unanimous passage at the UN.
To get the Chinese interested, Mukerji told them about the joint yoga program that schools in New Delhi and Shanghai held during China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan’s visit to a south Delhi school.
During Mukerji’s UN tenure that started in April 2013, India won several elections to UN bodies, including a re-election to the UN Human Rights Council, and elections to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and the Executive Board of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“The yardstick of a nation’s strength is in elections,” he said. And this can be measured by the fact that India has won every election it contested during his tenure.
Another high point of Mukerji’s term was India’s role in helping develop UN’s ambitious development goals for the next 15 years known as Agenda 2030. The earlier such agenda were top-down affairs, but this time, the developing nations that are most directly involved were actively involved in setting the goals.
“Eradication of poverty is the objective of Agenda 2030, and India spearheaded this issue in the negotiations,” Mukerji said. “The major takeaways for India are the inclusion of Economic Goals such as infrastructure, employment, Smart Cities, etc for the first time as Development Goals, and also the identification of energy as a goal.”
On the last day of 2015, the Council conceded a key demand by India in the area of peacekeeping operations. Mukerji had campaigned persistently for the troop-contributing countries to be consulted on peacekeeping mandates and operations.
US Permanent Representative Samantha Power, who presided over the Council in December, admitted the consultation process had been flawed and said on behalf of the Council that there should be full participation by the troop-contributing countries and that these should extend to other important areas beyond mandates.(IANS)(image: shabellenews)
The global pandemic has massively transitioned the ways in which we approach our fashion essentials. With work from home defining the major chunk of our 24/7 routine, loungewear is no longer limited to our homes. While being on top of our fashion game will always be a priority, our casual and formal wear are swapping roles and even entering into this amicable crossover with the new kid on the block -- the 2-mile fashion.
For those wondering what the 2-milefashion game is all about, there's a great possibility that you're already hopping on the trend without even knowing about it. Because as comfort becomes our new cashmere, we can all find ourselves rocking the 2-mile run away; From a cafe WFH vibe to taking the dog out for a walk to a pizza date night, comfort is your cue. When it comes to footwear, our choices in 2-mile fashion range from sandals to mules to sneakers. And it can get tricky to make the 'occasion perfect' pick when one doesn't know what comesunder its ambit. We have Matteo Lambert, Chief Collection Officer, Bata India Limited, to help us dress it up or down with the perfect footwear picks for the new trend that is here to stay:
Slides, Sandals and Style: Whether it's a traditional ceremony or coffeehouse work meetings, slides and sandals have made their way through it all. They offer that pick and slide and glide through life comfort across genders. With the slip-on ease, you can up your style game; go for the classics, the jewelled, the floral, the neutrals, the possibilities are endless.
Whether it's a traditional ceremony or coffeehouse work meetings, slides and sandals have made their way through it all. | Photo by Євгенія Височина on Unsplash
Always on, Athleisure: Athleisure is the biggest buzzworthy trend of the year, and rightly so. They resolve our footwear conundrum by offering the perfect balance to the blurring boundaries between active and formal wear. If fitness and fashion are your two magic words, then give your feet a break, quite literally. From grey suit formals to morning joggers, they'll let you rock everywhere.
Athleisure is the biggest buzzworthy trend of the year, and rightly so. | Photo by Malvestida Magazine on Unsplash
The Clog Club: If 2-mile is the new fashion cue, clogs have always been our comfort cue. And now we can have the best of both worlds as the humble functional shoe makes it a chic comeback. Clogs are the must-have wardrobe essentials to up our loungewear game. H-straps, metallic, studded -- they're on the 2021 heels' hotlist. Show off by making a chic statement as you dress up your straight-cut pants, T-shirt dresses, Boho gowns or flared joggers.
Clogs are the must-have wardrobe essentials to up our loungewear game. | Photo by Bert Ferranco on Unsplash
The Mule Moodboard: From heeled to flats to sandals, they come in all shapes and sizes. And what's better? They can be worn with a floral dress and your casual blue denim, at work and at a party. They're basically your everyday 'slip-on and get going' vibe. So, make some room for a pair of the classic mules.
From heeled to flats to sandals, they come in all shapes and sizes Photo by Jaclyn Moy on Unsplash
(Article originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: pandemic, covid, shoes, sandals, flats, clog, athleisure, moodboard
The city of Delhi has seen it all; from sultanate rule, to dynasties, and to colonial rule. From monarchy to democracy, Delhi has gone through its phases. But, in order to know and explore the nuances of Delhi, you must read these beautiful books.
1. City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi by William Dalrymple
This book was written while Dalrymple was still flirting with his love for the Medieval India. The author writes, "Moreover the city- so I soon discovered- possessed a bottomless seam of stories: tales receding far beyond history, deep into the cavernous chambers of myth and legend," and just like this, Dalrymple takes you in a tour to discover Discover Delhi.
2. Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveller by Raza Rumi
This book explores how the author explores his identity as a South Asian Muslim and how his city of Lahore is a mirror image of Delhi. Rumi, in this book, tries to co-relate the past with the present by comparing its festivals, streets, and markets.
3. Delirious Delhi: Inside India's Incredible Capital by DavePrager
This book is quite interesting. The story of this book revolves around the lives of Dave and Jenny who have recently moved to Delhi when their firm began to go down. The city of Delhi in this book is shown through their eyes as they try to make their way in the city that holds together a very large population.
4. The Heart has its Reasons by Krishna Sobti, Translated by Reema Anand, Meenakshi Swami
The original title of this book is "Dil - o - Danish". This book tells the reader about the streets of Old Delhi and almost transport the reader back in the past. This book is basically set in the 1920's, and tells the tale of a man's extramarital affair, his children out of wedlock, black magic, and Chandni Chowk's rich culture of sweets and the perils of being a widow. Interestingly, many have compared the author of this book to Jane Austen.
5. Delhi: A Novel by Khushwant Singh
Who would talk about Delhi and not remember Khushwant Singh? This amazing book is just like a narrative of the author's fulfilled love affair with the city and with a eunuch. The narrator in this book is an aging man who is trying to discover the city. This book is truly a masterpiece, where it takes the readers on the history of Delhi glimpsing at what makes the city what it is– simply beautiful.
There are some of the Indian cities which are older than time. Therefore, we must know which cities are they, and what has been their history!
1. Varanasi (1200 BC–)
Varanasi is one of the oldest cities of India, and has been a center of religious and cultural activity since the Bronze Age. In fact, this city might have been in existence from a very long time, since it finds mention in the Rig Veda. It is believed that the city of Varanasi was thriving for more than 1600 years before the fall of the Roman Empire in Europe. This city is one of the holiest places for Hindus and Jains, and even Lord Buddha gave his very first sermon here in 528 BC. In Hinduism, it is believed that dying in Varanasi brings salvation, which is the reason why the city is always brimming with pilgrims.
2. Ujjain (700/600 BC–)
Ujjain was once considered as one of the most prominent cities in the Middle India. In fact, the name of this city is repeatedly mentioned in the literature of that period, i.e. in the works of stalwarts like Kālidāsa. This city has seen the rise and fall of numerous empires, from the Mauryas to the Avantis, Nandas, and even the Guptas. This city, just like Varanasi, is also considered as one of the holiest cities in India, and hosts one of the officially recognized Kumbh melas, the Ujjain Simhastha Kumbh, in which people across the world take place.
3. Madurai (500 BC–)
Madurai been a major center of culture and trade for more than 2500 years. In fact, the name of this city has been mentioned in the writings of the great traveler, Megasthenes, and has been ruled by several empires from the Pandyas and the Cholas to the Karnata, and finally the British. Interestingly, ‘'Koodal,' was one of its ancient name which means 'a congregation of learned men'. There is no doubt that Madurai was an epicenter of scholars and religious teachers in the southern part of India.
4. Thanjavur (300 BC–)
Thanjavur was formerly known as Tanjore. This city is pretty famous for its Tanjore style of painting, which is a traditional style that is characterised by the use of gold foil, religious imagery, and simple compositions. This city is best known for being the home of the Great Living Chola Temples, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Till date, people across the world visit this place in order to experience its rich history and heritage.