India’s Bid to a Permanent Seat at United Nations

India and UNSC

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UN Security council

Mains level : International Relations

UNSCContext

  • There is greater support for India to be a permanent member of the UN Security Council and also a broad global consensus over the need to reform the Council, said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. India has once again renewed its bid for permanent membership of UNSC.

What is UNSC?

  • The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN) and is charged with ensuring international peace and security, recommending the admission of new UN members to the General Assembly, and approving any changes to the UN Charter.
  • Its powers include establishing peacekeeping operations, enacting international sanctions, and authorizing military action. The UNSC is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions on member states.

UNSCWhat is the composition of UNSC?

  • Presently there five permanent members (P-5) with veto and 10 non-permanent members without veto elected for tenure of 2 years.
  • India has been the non-permanent member multiple times. Presently India is serving its tenure that will end in December 2022.

UNSCWho are P-5 members?

  • The victors of World War 2 – USA, RUSSIA, CHINA, UK, FRANCE.

What are the hurdles that India facing?

  • Elite club: Most exclusive club in international relations. All other clubs have been breached. Until a quarter century ago, the nuclear weapon club had five members, the same five as the P-5.India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel have since joined the club. But UNSC is unbreachable till date.
  • All are reluctant: The inescapable fact is that none of the P-5 wants the UNSC’s ranks to be increased. One or the other of them might make some noise about supporting one or more of the aspirants. Each is confident that someone among them will torpedo the enlargement of the club. Declarations of support for India’s candidature need to be taken with a fistful of salt.
  • Veto issue: Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan bluntly told India not to expect to get the veto power. Though India has said it will not accept a seat without veto power.
  • China-Pakistan axis: China, which has historically blocked India’s aspirations to become a permanent member of the UNSC. Beijing has an “all-weather ally” in Islamabad, another neighbour who also strongly opposes India’s candidature to the UNSC.
  • Odd man out: Four out of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have bilaterally expressed official affirmations of support for India’s candidature to a permanent seat in an expanded UN Security Council.
  • Coffee club opposition: Members like Italy, South Korea, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Turkey, Argentina, Pakistan, and others, who have together formed the Uniting for Consensus (UfC) movement. Also known as the Coffee Club, the movement argues that bids for permanent seats by India, Japan, Germany, and Brazil (G4 countries) must not be considered without first reaching an international consensus regarding the form and size of the new Security council.

UNSCWhat are the Efforts taken by India?

  • Text based negotiation: External affairs minister is canvassing for the country’s candidature, meeting his counterparts from several countries. He has repeated the call, made often in the past, for a text-based negotiation on what has been euphemistically referred to as the reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), i.e., negotiation on a written document outlining the proposed reform instead of just holding forth verbally.
  • Woking together with G-4: INDIA, JAPAN, GEMANY, BRAZIL works together to get permanent UNSC seat however these efforts are opposed by coffee club.
  • Multilateral engagements: By expanding its footprint in multilateral organisations, India is gearing up to become a global rule-maker.
  • Distinguished group of experts suggested a few years ago that a new category of semi-permanent members should be created. Countries would be elected for a period of eight to 10 years and would be eligible for re-election. India ought to give serious consideration to this idea.
  • With or without veto: According to former foreign secretary Chinmaya gharekhan, if by some miracle we are offered or manage to obtain permanent membership without veto, we must grab it. Even a permanent membership without veto will be tremendously helpful in protecting our interests.

Conclusion

  • Looking at the present geopolitical divide India’s dream of seat at the highest table is unlikely to get fulfilled in near future. India must analyse the utility of UNSC membership for securing its national interest. India should not give up anything in bargain against UNSC seat which harms its international interest.

Mains question

Q. India’s quest for UNSC is like “Sisyphus carrying the boulder  just to see how it falls”. In this context Analyse the utility of Permanent seat at UNSC.

 

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