Raising concern about the resurgence of armed conflicts around the world, India on Tuesday noted the effect of urban warfare and terrorist attacks on cities that has impacted the lives of 50 million people globally.
Speaking at a UN Security Council Open Debate, India's Permanent Ambassador to the UN, T S Tirumurti said people in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Yemen have witnessed the devastation caused by urban conflicts.
"According to the Secretary General's report, more than 50 million people were affected by conflict in urban areas. The use of explosive weapons, particularly those with wide-area effects, continues to expose civilians to a high risk of indiscriminate effects," the Indian envoy said during the debate on "Protection of civilians in armed conflict: Wars in cities - protection of civilians in urban settings."
Citing the example of the 1971 genocide in erstwhile East Pakistan, Ambassador Tirumurti underlined how several countries are still reeling from military actions carried out in the past either.
He expressed concern over the resurgence of armed conflicts around the world which has been further complicated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The use of explosive weapons, particularly those with wide-area effects, continues to expose civilians to a high risk of indiscriminate effects, said Ambassador Tirumuri.
Further, Ambassador during his speech expressed concern that the parties to the armed conflicts seem to consider civilian population and civilian infrastructure as legitimate targets.
Having suffered the scourge of cross-border terrorism for decades, India has always been at the forefront of global counter-terrorism efforts, he said while adding that India has witnessed dastardly terrorist attacks on our cities targeting innocent civilians.
"Any debate on the protection of civilians in urban areas would be incomplete without taking into account the carnage wrought by terrorist forces, especially those backed by State actors. The dastardly terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008 which resulted in the killing of 166 innocent civilians of 15 nationalities are still a ghastly reminder to the entire international community."
During his speech, Tirumurti urged the international community to stand firm on its opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and reject attempts to provide justifications for terrorist acts.
Stating that India recognizes the importance of assisting countries that have suffered the destruction of urban infrastructure, he reminded how New Delhi assisted Sri Lanka in immediately restoring essential civilian infrastructures in the country after the end of the armed conflict in 2009.
He also said India had also invested USD 3 billion in infrastructure and community development projects in Afghanistan.
Concluding his speech, the Indian envoy added India is ready to support efforts towards strengthening the normative architecture for the protection of civilians, and provision of humanitarian assistance in armed conflict in urban areas. (ANI)