New Delhi, December 2
India’s sole political nominee as Ambassador, Vishal V. Sharma, has defended the country’s record at UNESCO, terming it as “unprecedented in recent times’’. It was under Sharma’s watch as Permanent Representative to UNESCO that Pakistan on November 24 beat India in an election to the UNESCO Executive Board.
India made no mention of the defeat, but the Pakistan Foreign Office had then tweeted about “overwhelming support” for the election to Vice Chair of UNESCO Executive Board from Asia Pacific Group. Pakistan media reports later revealed that Islamabad’s candidate received 38 votes, while New Delhi’s contender got 18.
Most of the Global South, which India says it leads, opted for the Pakistani candidate and India mustered largely mustered votes from the Western camp.
Sharma has now pointed out that India, for the first time since 1966, was the Chair of the Finance & Administration Commission of UNESCO (2021-2023) and was elected to the “ExB Board” (2021-2025) by getting more votes than China. For the World Heritage Committee (2021-2025) elections, India got the highest votes in the Asia-Pacific region.
India got 128 votes for elections to the Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its country of Origin, while China and Japan lost as they could get 92 and 108 votes, respectively, according to Sharma.
India is also active on thematic issues. It successfully inscribed four properties on the World Heritage List -- Rudreshwara Ramappa Temple (Telangana), Dholavira (Gujarat), Santiniketan (West Bengal), Hoysalas (Karnataka) – and one in the ICH’s Representative List – Durga Puja of Kolkata, he said.
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