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Introduction

 

28 June 1919 - Treaty of Versailles - signing of the Peace Treaty in the Hall of Mirrors with India as signatory

 

India's  engagement with the institutions of modern multilateral diplomacy began when, on 28 June 1919, India signed the Treaty of Versailles which ended the First World War. Article 1 of the Treaty created the League of Nations, the precursor of the United Nations. India was a founder member of this organization, as well as of the International Labour Organization, which was created by the Treaty of Versailles, In 1922, India became one of the permanent members of the Governing Council of the ILO, a position it has maintained to this day.

 

India was among the original members of the United Nations that signed the Declaration by United Nations at Washington on 1 January 1942 and also participated in the historic UN Conference of International Organization at San Francisco from 25 April to 26 June 1945. As a founding member of the United Nations, India strongly supports the purposes and principles of the UN and has made significant contributions to implementing the goals of the Charter, and the evolution of the UN’s specialized progra mm es and agencies

 

Independent India viewed its membership at the United Nations as an important guarantee for maintaining international peace and security. India stood at the forefront during the UN's tumultuous years of struggle against colonialism and apar theid. India’s status as a founding member of the Non - Aligned Movement and the Group of 77 cemented its position within the UN system as a leading advocate of the concerns and aspirations of developing countries and the creation of a more equitable interna tional economic and political order.

 

India is today at the forefront of efforts on UN reform, including expansion of the Security Council in both the permanent and non - permanent categories to reflect contemporary realities

 

Historical perspective: Decolo nization and Apartheid

 

 

26 June 1945 : Signing of UN Charter, Sir A Ramaswami Mudaliar, signing the UN Charter at San Francisco

 

The purposes of the UN Charter include promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion. This was by no means an easy quest. In 1945, when the UN Charter was signed, more than 750 million people lived in colonies. India was in the forefront of the struggle against colonialism, apartheid and racial discrimination. This struggle transformed the lives of millions of people in Africa and Asia.

 

 

Charter provisions on Non - Self Governing Territories were given a new thrust when the UN adopted the landmark 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. India was a co - sponsor of the Declaration. The Declarati on solemnly proclaimed the necessity of bringing to a speedy and unconditional end, colonialism in all its forms and manifestations.

 

The following year, the Special Committee on the Implementation of the Declaration on Decolonization was established to study, investigate and recommend action to bring an end to colonialism. India was elected the first Chairman of the Decolonization Commi ttee. As a member of the Committee of 24, as it came to be called, India has ceaselessly struggled for an end to colonialism. India also took up the decolonization issue in the Trusteeship Committee, the Special Committee on Non - self Governing Territories and the Fourth Committee.

 

India was amongst the most outspoken critics of apartheid and racial discrimination in South Africa, being the first country to have raised the issue in the UN (in 1946). India played a leading role in the formation of a Sub - C ommittee against Apartheid set up by the General Assembly. When the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination was adopted in 1965, India was among the earliest signatories. India also contributed generously to UN Funds for assistance to victims of apartheid and for revitalization and economic regeneration of Africa and remains a fervent supporter of Africa’s development and aspirations

 

 


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