India’s Bid to a Permanent Seat at United Nations

UNSC: India’s Remarkable Tenure


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: UNSC, UNITE Aware technology platform

Mains level: UNSC, India's tenure and contribution

Central idea

  • India’s two-year stint in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was unprecedented, with a focus on maritime security, terrorism, UN peacekeeping, reformed multilateralism, and the Global South. India served as the Chair of three important UNSC Committees, made efforts to bring conflicting parties on the same page, and raised important issues like religiophobia.

India’s tenure in the UNSC from 2020 to 2022

  1. Focus on Priorities:
  • Clear priorities upon entering the Council in January 2021
  • Priorities include maritime security, terrorism, UN peacekeeping, reformed multilateralism, and the Global South
  • India elected Chair of three important UNSC Committees
  1. India’s Role in Maritime Security:
  • Prime Minister of India chaired a UNSC meeting on maritime security
  • Presidential Statement issued was the first comprehensive document on maritime security
  • Document referenced UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as international law setting out the legal framework
  • Statement called for freedom of navigation, anti-piracy measures, and combating terror and transnational crime at sea
  1. Conflicts on the Agenda:
  • Old conflicts festered and new conflicts arose, including Myanmar, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Mali, Syria, Palestine, Yemen, Haiti, Libya, and the Sahel, as well as Ukraine
  • The Council stood polarised and unable to act decisively
  • India attempted to bring the Council together on these issues
  1. India’s Involvement in Myanmar:
  • Military takeover in Myanmar occurred in February 2021
  • Permanent-5 were pulling in opposing directions while ASEAN counselled caution
  • India shares a nearly 1,700 kilometre-long border with Myanmar and it was crucial to stop violence, bring in stability and ensure democratic processes went forward
  • India ensured balanced and comprehensive Council pronouncements, which culminated in a resolution on Myanmar (adopted under India’s presidency) in December 2022.

India’s Impact on the UNSC: Steadfast Diplomacy in the Face of Global Challenges

  1. India’s role in Afghanistan Crisis:
  • India steered negotiations resulting in UNSC Resolution 2593 for benchmarks in Afghanistan, including stopping cross-border terrorism, protecting rights of women and minorities, ensuring an inclusive government, and providing humanitarian assistance.
  • India maintains a firm position on the Taliban upholding these benchmarks.
  1. India’s stance on Ukraine Conflict:
  • India’s independent stand calling for dialogue and peace during the Ukraine conflict resonated with many developing countries.
  • India spoke out against unilateral sanctions on oil, food, and fertilizers.
  • As the conflict spilled over into India’s G-20 Presidency, India is now launching an initiative to convert its proactive position into action.
  1. India’s focus on counter-terrorism:
  • As Chair of the UNSC Counter-terrorism Committee (CTC), India brought the CTC meeting to India in October 2022.
  • India attempted to list terrorists under UNSC Resolution 1267 sanctions but was thwarted, however, the proposal to list Abdul Rehman Makki, Deputy Amir/Chief of the Lashkar-e-Taiba was approved by the UNSC, with India as a proposer.

India on peacekeeping

  • Largest contributor including women: India has been the largest contributor of UN peacekeepers, including as a pioneer in women peacekeeping.
  • UNITE Aware technology platform: Its launching of the UNITE Aware technology platform to strengthen real-time protection of peacekeepers is to be noted.
  • Calling for accountability for crimes against peacekeepers: In August 2021, India piloted the first UNSC resolution by India in more than five decades, calling for accountability for crimes against peacekeepers. India also gifted two lakh vaccines to all UN peacekeepers.

Facts for Prelims: The UNITE Aware technology platform

  • Developed by India: The UNITE Aware technology platform is a system developed by India in collaboration with the United Nations to enhance the safety and security of peacekeepers deployed in conflict zones.
  • Real time ground situation: It is a real-time situational awareness system that uses advanced technologies such as satellites, drones, and geospatial tools to provide up-to-date information on the ground situation to peacekeeping forces.
  • Mobile app: The system also includes a mobile app that allows peacekeepers to report incidents and receive alerts in real-time.
  • Help to make informed decisions: The platform is designed to help peacekeepers make informed decisions and respond effectively to emerging threats, thereby reducing the risks to their safety and security.

On other important issue

  1. Climate change:
  • India’s focus on the developing world, especially Africa and West Asia, was enhanced, given their close historical relations.
  • In December 2021, India thwarted a move by the West to wrest climate change from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change-led process and bring it under the ambit of the UNSC, where the P-5 are also major historical polluters.
  • The draft resolution was defeated in the Council when India and Russia voted against.
  • A change in the climate change architecture would have shut out the voice of the Global South, especially Small Island Developing States.
  1. Contemporary issues:
  • India also raised the issue of a contemporary form of religiophobia in the Council when, while condemning phobia against Abrahamic religions, it forcefully put forth the need to combat rising hate crimes and phobias against non-Abrahamic religions as well.
  • With hate crimes being fuelled abroad by vested interests, India’s stand needs to be robustly taken forward.


  • India’s Presidency led to a discussion on urgent Council reform, highlighting India’s strong performance and the need for its permanent presence at the horseshoe table.

Mains Question

Q. India’s tenure in the United Nations Security Council from 2020 to 2022 was marked by its focus on several important priorities and its involvement in various global issues. Evaluate India’s performance.

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