New York: India has offered lines of credit worth USD 280 million to Syria for building a power plant and a steel plant in the country.

While addressing the United Nations Security Council session on Syria's political-humanitarian situation, India's permanent representative Ruchira Kamboj on Wednesday (local time) said, "India has offered Lines of Credit worth USD 280 million to Syria for building a power plant and a steel plant. A Next-Gen Centre for Information Technology was set up in Damascus in October 2021. About 1500 scholarships have been provided to Syrian students to study in India in diverse streams, including 200 scholarships in the current academic year itself."

She also said that India has been extending humanitarian, technical and developmental assistance to Syria through bilateral and multilateral channels. Consignments of food and medicines have been supplied to Syria from time to time, including during the pandemic.

During her speech, Kamboj said, "We note with regret that the conflict in Syria still has no end in sight and the political process is yet to take off. We continue to stress on Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process, in line with UNSC Resolution 2254, with a firm commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. A decisive forward movement on the political track in Syria remains an urgent imperative to alleviate the sufferings of its people."

Notably, Resolution 2254 was adopted in 2015, reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

The revival of the constitutional committee process is crucial to move forward on the political track. In this regard, UNSC takes note of the efforts of the Special Envoy, particularly his visit to Damascus earlier this month. The step-by-step approach advocated by the Special Envoy requires engagement and response from all sides, and cannot be a one-sided process, she said while addressing the UNSC.

"In recent weeks, the security situation particularly in northeast Syria has worsened. Moreover, the activities of terrorist outfits are on the rise. We have also seen military operations inside Syria carried out by a neighbour. We express concerns over such unilateral actions violating Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We believe that the withdrawal of all foreign forces is essential to achieve a nationwide ceasefire. We note the recent meeting of the Ceasefire Task Force and hope that the parties will take steps towards cessation of hostilities," Kamboj said.

India's permanent representative to the UN further said, "The humanitarian situation continues to remain dire. Secretary-General in his latest report has projected an increase in the number of people in need of humanitarian aid, from 14.6 million in 2022 to 15.3 million in 2023. USG Martin Griffiths has also reiterated the challenges faced by humanitarian agencies. Women, children and the elderly continue to be impacted severely, and impediments to humanitarian assistance persist, both in terms of delivery and augmentation of financial resources. The restrictions on financial services have also negatively affected the work of humanitarian agencies."

"We have noted the progress in crossline deliveries and early recovery projects. Our consistent view in this regard has been that distribution of humanitarian assistance to Syrians, whether by crossline or cross-border mechanism, should be guided by needs-based assessments and not political motivations. Humanitarian assistance cannot be a matter of political expediency," she added..

Terrorism can't be ignored in Syria and the sanctioned terror outfits like ISIL, Hayat Tahrir Al Sham, continue to remain active in the country. UNSC reiterated the call for caution and due diligence to be exercised while extending humanitarian assistance to proscribed UN entities and individuals.