What exactly is United Nations Security Council (UNSC)?

  1. UN Security Council was created following World War II to address the failings of another international organisation, the League of Nations, in maintaining world peace.
  2. It is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.

Then, who holds UNSC’s power?

  1. As of now, there are 15 members on the UNSC. Five of those (mostly powers who emerged victorious in the World War II), including the US, UK, France, China and Russia are permanent members.
  2. These members have the all-important veto power which would mean that a resolution or decision would not be approved. Many a times, veto has been used for their own interests.
  3. The remaining 10 non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms, starting 1 January.
  4. Five members are replaced each year. India has been elected as a non-permanent member to the UNSC for 7 such terms, the last of which was in 2011-12.

Okay, so where does India stands in all ?

India want a permanent membership to the UNSC for two reasons.

  1. First, the veto power, which India could use to defend its interests, say against Pakistan (just like Russia did last year over the civil war in Ukraine).
  2. Second, the sheer prestige associated with permanent membership of a multilateral forum. India’s elevation will also be an acknowledgment of its rise as a global power, ready to play a key role in the council’s objectives of international peace and security.
  3. India also believes that the UNSC, which was constituted in 1945 after the World War II, does not reflect the geopolitical realities—the emergence of a multipolar world order largely thanks to the rise of developing economies like China, Brazil and India.
  4. Also, India is the largest contributor to the UN Peacekeeping Operations (UNPKO), with nearly 180,000 troops serving in 44 missions since it was established.
  5. India is also among the highest financial contributors to the UN, with the country making regular donations to several UN organs like the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF).

Sounds like a fair ask! So who all support India for this?

  1. Four of the five permanent members have supported India’s bid. China is the only permanent member that has been ambiguous in its support for India, owing to its close ties with Pakistan.
  2. Other member states, like the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Singapore, Malaysia and the whole of the African Union have also endorsed India’s bid.

And who opposes?

  1. India’s nuclear-armed rival Pakistan has been leading the opposition to its inclusion in the UNSC’s list of permanent members.
  2. Other countries, part of an interest group called the “Uniting for Consensus” (UfC), also curiously called “The Coffee Club”, formed in 1995, are opposed to India (and the G4’s bid) for permanent seats.
  3. Italy, Pakistan, Mexico and Egypt were founder members of the UFC. The list also includes Argentina, South Korea, Spain, Turkey and Indonesia.

Anyway, What’s the process to get into permanent membership?

  1. The reform of the Security Council can only take place if two-thirds of UN member states vote in favour, along with an affirmative vote from all the permanent members, who enjoy the veto power.
  2. Effectively, even if India secures the support of two-thirds of UN members, who are present and voting, it would still need the five permanent members to not use the veto and thereby, prevent the adoption of the reform process.

So far, what’s the progress from India’s side?

  1. Recently, the UN General Assembly adopted a negotiating text by consensus for the long- pending Security Council reforms, setting the stage for talks on the issue at its 70th session, boosting India’s bid for a permanent seat in the revamped world body.
  2. India termed as “historic” and “path-breaking” the adoption of the document, saying the decision puts the Inter- Governmental Process formally on an “irreversible text-based negotiations path” and changes the “dynamics” of the negotiations on achieving UNSC reforms.
  3. China, predictably, said that this was a “technical” or “roll-over” decision. Pakistan too joined the chorus. Italy too has made their opposition clear.
  4. It is widely known that majority in the UN security Council do not want the council to be expanded. And they have been using their proxies to scuttle the process. And that will be the game in town in the months to come.
  5. Now, it will be for India, to team up with other like-minded countries across continents (L-69 and G-4 groupings, to begin with), to get the UNGA to push the text-based negotiations towards conclusion in the coming months and years.

There is no time to sit back and rejoice. The uphill task has just begun. Now, with a text in front of the UNGA, the challenge is to take it forward with optimism.


Published with inputs from Arun

Any doubts?

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    @Aditya: plz post some doubts/qts to stir a discussion or a debate !!!

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    Koi discuss krta bhi he

Mission Blue: who sends the bulk of personnel to the UN Peacekeeping missions?

  1. Source: United Nations Peacekeeping
  2. Africa and Asia contribute the bulk of personnel to UN Peacekeeping missions (“the blue helmets”) abroad
  3. India’s contingent is the second largest overall
  4. Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal from South Asia are also among the top six


India’s contribution for UN Peacekeeping is an oft-quoted argument for its UNSC seat. It can be backed with this official data.

No change in India’s stance on UNSC veto: Syed Akbaruddin

  1. Ministry of External Affairs: India is ready to accept a United Nations (UN) permanent Security Council seat without using a veto for the first 15 years
  2. India and other G-4 countries are ready to accept a moratorium on using the veto
  3. The Indian Ambassador to UN’s statement merely stresses that the matter of veto need not be made into something to protract urgently needed reforms of the Security Council
  4. Showing flexibility: This is one way of keeping the process going, and to show some flexibility on our part
  5. However, it is doubted that India could uphold the moratorium if there were any resolutions at the UNSC that affected India directly


Note the India’s position on entry to UNSC. The issue has been in news for a long time and there is nothing substantially new in it. However, these reforms are unlikely to come about since increasing the UNSC permanent members would result in the existing members becoming less powerful. Also, whenever you see this UN G-4 grouping also keep in mind the organisation explained below.

Uniting for Consensus (UfC) is a movement, nicknamed the Coffee Club, that developed in the 1990s in opposition to the possible expansion of permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council. Under the leadership of Italy, it aims to counter the bids for permanent seats proposed by G4 nations (Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan) and is calling for a consensus before any decision is reached on the form and size of the Security Council.

Significantly, Pakistan is also a member of it.

UN security council: ‘US supports India’s bid for permanent membership’

Reiterating support for India’s quest to enter the elite club, Power said, “Let me affirm that we support a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member.”

  1. US Permanent Representative to UN, Samantha Power, expressed US government’s support for India’s bid to become a permanent member at a reformed UNSC.
  2. She favours increased consultations between peacekeeper troop-contributing countries and UNSC.
  3. UN is going to take a call on the renewal of the mandate of some of peacekeepers.
  4. US strongly advocates efforts to institute periodic assessment of troops deployment in peacekeeping missions.

Time for G4 leaders to assert themselves

  1. There is increasing hope among G4 members with the negotiations now moving to a text-based one, which will bring more clarity on the respective positions of countries.
  2. There are many opponents to the expansion of the UNSC, but the most vociferous of them are China and Pakistan.
  3. The G4 took shape in 2004 when leaders of all the 4 countries issued a joint statement, kicking off their campaign for U.N. reforms.
  4. Since 2008, the U.N.’s Inter-Governmental Negotiations have been negotiating text for U.N. reforms.

UNSC reforms: ‘Historic’, ‘pathbreaking’ for India

  1. India is a strong contender for a permanent UN seat if the Security Council gets expanded,one of the most significant reforms being discussed.
  2. 70th session of the UN General Assembly chose the path of text-based negotiations for carrying out Security Council reforms and, for this purpose, adopted a negotiating text by consensus.
  3. Security Council,the top decision-making body, which has 15 members including five permanent members – China, Russia, the US, the UK and France.
  4. US and Russia have been supporting India’s bid, China has been against any expansion of the Security Council.
  5. Once the draft is agreed upon by the UN member countries, it will be put to vote at the General Assembly, where a two-thirds vote is needed to pass it.

Why is it important to become a permanent member of Security council?

India bid for permanent seat suffers blow

  1. US, Russia, China oppose UNSC reform talks which could have set a dialogue in motion.
  2. US remains opposed to “any alteration or expansion of the veto”.
  3. India received support from France and the UK, the two remaining permanent members of Security Council.

‘Support our bid for a permanent UNSC seat’: India to China

India has 2 major expectations from China (among other things):

  1. Wants to become a member of the 44-nation NSG which controls the civil nuclear technology trade regime.
  2. Wants China to back its bid for a permanent seat in a reformed U.N. Security Council.

Obama endorses India for UNSC seat

  1. Five permanent members: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  2. Ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly with term ending date: Angola (2016), Chad (2015), Chile (2015), Jordan (2015), Lithuania (2015), Malaysia (2016), New Zealand (2016), Nigeria (2015), Spain (2016), Venezuela (2016).

How imp. is it for India to join UNSC? Who is not in our favour?

:( We are working on most probable questions. Do check back this section.

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