Context:

India will vote in support of Maldives’ Foreign Minister at the election for the President of the General Assembly (PGA) in the United Nations next week, a decision which will disappoint another close neighbor.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Important International Institutions, India’s neighbors and foreign policies/developments affecting India’s interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)
  2. Functions of UNGA
  3. India supports Maldives for the Presidency of the UNGA session
  4. Significance of Maldives from India’s Perspective

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)

  • The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), the only one in which all member nations have equal representation, and the main deliberative, policy-making, and representative organ of the UN.
  • Popularly known as the parliament of the world, where all the 193 UN member states are represented, the UNGA is the deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN.
  • Its powers are to oversee the budget of the UN, appoint the non-permanent members to the Security Council, appoint the Secretary-General of the United Nations, receive reports from other parts of the UN, and make recommendations in the form of General Assembly Resolutions.
  • It is headquartered in New York City, U.S.A.

Functions of UNGA

  • Takes a decision on important matters such as peace and security, discusses various global issues and budgetary matters.
  • Decides on matters such as the admission of new members.
  • Decisions are taken through a vote. Admission of new members and budgetary matters require a two-thirds majority, while the decisions on other issues are taken by a simple majority.
  • Each sovereign state gets one vote and the votes are not binding on the membership, except in budgetary matters.
  • The Assembly has no binding votes or veto powers like the UN Security Council.
  • The UNGA can express world opinion, promote international cooperation in various fields and make recommendations to the UNSC and elect the Security Council’s non-permanent members.

India supports Maldives for the Presidency of the UNGA session

  • India expressed strong support to the candidature of Maldives Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid for the President of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly.
  • Indian External Affairs Minister said multilateral engagement was “very important” in the contemporary globalised system and maintained that India had always been “supportive” of the “larger participation of the Maldives”.
  • By joining the Indian Ocean Regional Association, rejoining the Commonwealth three years after it had quit the Commonwealth over criticism of its human rights records and by playing a greater role in the United Nations, Maldives has demonstrated its value in the comity of nations.

Significance of Maldives from India’s Perspective

  • Maldives – the Indian Ocean archipelago assumes geopolitical significance due to its strategic location.
  • Located at the southern and northern parts of this island chain lies the two important sea lanes of communication (SLOCs).
  • These SLOCs are critical for maritime trade flow between the Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Hormuz in West Asia and the Strait of Malacca in Southeast Asia.
  • The SLOCs are of vital importance for India since nearly 50% of India’s external trade and 80% of her energy imports transit these westward SLOCs in the Arabian Sea.
  • Maldives plays an integral role in realising the potential of Indian Ocean blue economy as a contributor to the security and sustainable development of sea resources.
  • The growing Chinese presence in the archipelago could have serious security implications.
  • The crucial oil supply coming from Gulf nations to India pass through this area.
  • There are about 25,000 Indian expatriates in Maldives who are engaged in a number of professional pursuits and their security is also of prime concern for India.

-Source: The Hindu

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