India has capped its two-year term on the Security Council by turning the spotlight on its two issues of paramount interest, fighting terrorism and reforming the world organisation.
Assuming the presidency of the Council in the final month of its term as an elected member, India convened a high-level meeting chaired by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on reforming multilateral institutions, especially the Council.
Many of the leaders who participated echoed India's call for expanding the permanent membership and there was near-unanimity on the urgency for reforms.
The Council also met for a signature event chaired by him on global approaches to counter-terrorism.
Morocco's Permanent Representative Omar Hilale said that India had attached to counterterrorism "great importance throughout its time on the Council".
The Council meeting followed a rare special session of the Council's India-chaired Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) away from the UN headquarters held in Mumbai, where it adopted the Delhi Declaration on fighting terrorists using new technologies.
Even China acknowledged New Delhi's role with its Deputy Permanent Representative Geng Shuang saying that the declaration gave "impetus to member states' efforts in better tackling the new counter-terrorism challenges".
India's leadership of the Council was summed up by Russian Mission's Second Secretary Nadezhda Sokolova who said: "India, as President of the Security Council, has demonstrated a highest standards of multilateral diplomacy and a focus on finding wise and balanced decisions."
Ruchira Kamboj became India's Permanent Representative in August succeeding veteran diplomat T.S. Tirumurti, who retired from the foreign service.
She was the first woman to hold the post, tweeting when she took over, "to the girls out there, we all can make it!".
She also became the first Indian woman to become the President of the Security Council, following in the footsteps of Vijayalakshmi Pandit who had been the president of the General Assembly 69 years ago.
In what seems to be a return to an era of intensified cold war divisions, as India sought a leadership role Jaishankar said that India "really matters more in this polarised world".
India tried to build on this role by trying to emerge as the "Voice of the Global South", articulating the economic and political aspirations of the developing countries without shrill rhetoric.
"We are also conscious of the fact that we were also the voice of the Global South during our tenure, highlighting issues of particular importance to the developing world," Kamboj said.
United Arab Emirates Deputy Permanent Representative Mohamed Abushahab said his country valued India's consistent advocacy for the Global South.
India raised at the problem of Hinduphobia at the UN which focuses on bias against Islam and Judaism.
Tirumurti told the General Assembly: "It's time that UN member states condemned hatred against non-Abrahamic religions as well and stop from being selective in combating 'religiophobias'."
In a year dominated by Ukraine, India's membership of the Council put its stand on the Russian invasion under close watch, especially given its historic close defence ties with Moscow and its growing ties with Washington.
At the UN it tried to juggle its old and new ties with a dose of ambiguity and diplomatic between-the-lines agility.
"India is on the side of peace and will remain firmly there" is the "straight and honest" answer to the question of whose side it was on, Jaishankar said.
But without directly criticising Russia or mentioning Kiev, he signalled backing for Ukraine asserting: "We are on the side that respects the UN Charter and its founding principles."
India walked the tightrope in the highly polarised Council, voting and abstaining on several resolutions guided by its perceived its national interests, not aligning with either bloc, making it difficult to pin it down.
While its abstentions on Western-backed resolutions condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine drew the most attention, India also abstained on a Moscow-sponsored resolution on Ukraine and voted with the West on some procedural matters.
India voted for a western-backed resolution on safe passage for aid in Syria, but abstained on a Russian resolution on a related matter.
New Delhi abstained on a Western-backed resolution on Myanmar, but voted with the West to raise sanctions on North Korea over its missile tests.
India also stood alone abstaining on a resolution backed by all the other 14 Council members on exempting from sanctions humanitarian assistance for terrorist-linked groups.
Kamboj called it a "mockery" of the resistance to terrorism as the aid could be diverted to front organisations of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed.
There were also setbacks in India's fight against terrorism because China continued to block sanctions against Pakistan-based terrorists behind attacks on India.
Beijing extended its protections against sanctions to four from the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Sajid Mir, who orchestrated the 26/11 Mumbai attack, deputy chief Abdur Rehman Makki, front organisation Falah-I-Insaniyat Foundation's deputy head Shahid Mahmood, and to commander Hafiz Talha Saeed, and Jaish-e-Mohammed's deputy leader Abdul Rauf.
Although there has been no breakthrough in reforming the Security Council to give India a long-sought permanent seat, its paralysis on Ukraine has given an impetus to the calls for changes.
"I think that the possibility of enlarging the Security Council is now seriously on the table," Secretary-General Antonio Gutierrez said, noting that four of the five permanent members support adding permanent members.
China is the holdout, but it along with others like Pakistan and Italy, is under pressure from the 55-member African Union on adding permanent members because the continent is shut out of permanent seats even though most of the Council's peacekeeping mandates are for the continent.
Peacekeeper safety is of concern to India, historically the largest contributor to UN missions with 5,887 personnel now serving in 13 Missions.
With two of its peacekeepers killed this year, India pushed for ensuring that those attacking peacekeepers are brought to justice and to enhance safety measures for those in UN operations.
Guterres visited India in October honouring the victims of the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai.
He went to Gujarat to promote his major mission, fighting climate change, participating with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the launch of Mission LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment) and visiting India's first solar-powered village.
He said that India should aspire to be a superpower in renewable energy, both in its deployment and in the manufacture of equipment.
At the UN's climate change conference in Egypt's Sharm-el-Sheikh, India pushed for the setting up of a "loss and damage" fund to compensate countries that are affected by climate change and the efforts to fight it, recognising the responsibilities of the developed countries in creating the climate crisis.
In a breakthrough for the developing nations, it was accepted at the conference.