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Why G4 nations need a hardball diplomacy?



What is the G4 nations group?

  1. The G4 nations comprising Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan are 4 countries which support each other’s bids for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council.
  2. The G4’s primary aim is the permanent member seats on the Security Council. Each of these four countries have figured among the elected non-permanent members of the council since the UN’s establishment.

What do Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan have in common?

Though geographically disparate, each of these states seek permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council and have the economic and political heft to make its bid not entirely unrealistic.

Why does G4 demand Permanent membership in SC?

According to the IMF, all countries in the current “P5” members of the Security Council and the G4 currently rank among the 10 economies with the highest nominal GDP in the world, both regarding the calculation of GDP by Purchasing Power Parity, and nominal GDP, with Italy being the only non P5 or G4 member among them.

They also account for 9 of the world’s ten largest defense budgets, with Saudi Arabia being the only non P5 or G4 member among them. In both scenarios, the P5 and G4 countries combined account for over 60% of the world’s GDP, and around half of the world’s total population.

Then, what’s next on the table of G4 and India, now?

  1. It is time for India and the G4 to adopt a strategy of non-cooperation towards the UNSC and the United Nations as a whole.
  2. India’s ambition for permanent membership has never been a secret. Whatever the serious powers, the only ones who count when it comes to reforming the Security Council, may say in public by way of vague endorsements of India’s push which does not commit them to any practical action, in practice they are all indifferent.
  3. More than a decade ago, India joined Brazil, Germany and Japan in the so-called Group of Four (G4) in a major push for Security Council restructuring.
  4. This faltered in the 2005 UN reform effort against determined opposition from some existing five permanent members (P5) and many regional rivals of the aspirant states.
  5. Now India has said it convene “a very substantive and significant” summit of the G4 in New York on September 26, 2015.

Do we need a hardball diplomacy by G4 now?

  1. One essential criterion of permanent membership is the capacity and will to play hardball diplomacy. China and the US demonstrated this in their firm rejection of the G4 campaign a decade ago.
  2. The US is the strongest refusenik on the Security Council in shielding Israel from any punitive consequences for decades of defying UN resolutions.
  3. But China and Russia too have proven their hardball credentials in vetoing draft resolutions on Syria since 2011.

Finally, can the Gandhian strategy work in this scenario? Let’s see how

  1. First, by recalling the great success of Gandhi’s non- cooperation strategy that did, after all, defeat the mighty British Empire.
  2. Second, by recognising that the Security Council is not the forum of choice for the idealists of the world.
  3. Rather, it is the epicentre of geopolitical realism where hardball tactics rule the roost as the different powers jostle furiously and use sharp elbows liberally in pursuit of hard interests.
  4. Combining the two, the conclusion is obvious. The G4 countries should engage in a deliberate and combined campaign of non-cooperation.
  5. This need not take offensive form. As Gandhi showed brilliantly, passive but polite non-cooperation is a very cost-effective strategy to force the issue against closed minds.
  6. Non-participation in Security Council elections and refuse to vote for referring or citing any country for bad behaviour, such as non-compliance with nuclear non-proliferation obligations, to the Council.
  7. They can politely remind everyone each time that as they do not believe that the council is fully legitimate, they would feel hypocritical in subjecting others to its compulsory coercive authority. Therefore they will abstain.
  8. Third and finally, since all UN peacekeeping missions are authorised by the UN Security Council, they should refuse to contribute troops, civilian personnel or funds to UN operations until such time as the council is reformed.

Questions, suggestions and comments


  1. Profile photo of GAURAV SINGH GAURAV SINGH

    cant we add this- as G4 are very big economies so they can make another UN and try to make the world again bipolar(nearly all the africans countries will join). Just a point so that they are added into UN security council.

    1. Profile photo of PraNay Bannu PraNay Bannu

      At present, it seems it is economically not viable n may
      end up facing negative
      geo-politico-strategic consequences.

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