India’s Bid to a Permanent Seat at United Nations

India’s Bid to a Permanent Seat at United Nations

[op-ed snap] About time India got a seat at the high tableop-ed snap


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : India's entry to UNSC


Prime Minister called upon all like-minded nations to push for an overhaul of the United Nations (UN) structure. 

Need for reforms

    • Misused by some members – The UN is being used by some members as a tool rather than an institution to resolve global conflicts. 
    • Losing relevance – It formed in 1945 after World War II with that war’s victors, the US, Russia, the UK, France, and China, as permanent members of its Security Council. For decades afterward, the Big Five exercised disproportionate clout in world affairs due to their nuclear arsenals. This is no longer so. 
    • Need other veto holders – If contemporary geopolitical realities are to be taken into account, then the Council needs to induct other countries as veto holders as well. 
    • The power matrix remains the same – the UN’s apex decision-making unit has remained stuck in time. Such structural deficiencies have rendered the UN largely ineffective on matters of war and peace. 

Signs of losing authority

    • 2003 Iraq war – The most glaring sign of the UN’s lost authority was the US’s 2003 offensive against Iraq in response to the 9/11 attacks. This campaign did not have any UN sanctions, nor was it sought, unlike America’s previous strikes. 
    • Unilateral powers – Since then, unilateral military actions by major world powers gained a measure of legitimacy. The idea of the Council working out solutions to international problems has turned anachronistic.
    • Reduced multilateralism – open disregard for multilateral deliberations has reduced the UN to a talk shop. 
    • Asian century – As the American century gives way to an Asian one, it’s more crucial that the UN regains the stature needed to act as a force for peace.

A strong case for India

    • Economy – India is a rapidly emerging economy. It provides large numbers of soldiers to the UN for peacekeeping missions and is armed with nuclear weapons, for which it has a clear no-first-use policy stated upfront. 
    • Population – India accounts for almost one-fifth of all humanity. 

Challenges to entry

    • Nuclear power – Nuclear hyphenation with Pakistan has been a stumbling block. Pakistan’s ties with Beijing make this hyphenation hard to remove. 

Way ahead

    • India’s market potential could change how strongly other nations rally to India’s cause. 
    • Realpolitik may determine the eventual outcome of structural reform.
    • India could do with a better record of conflict resolution.
    • A country of our strength and diversity simply cannot be left out of the power matrix for much longer.
India’s Bid to a Permanent Seat at United Nations

India’s non-permanent membership of UNSCIOCR


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UNSC

Mains level : India's bid for UNSC's permanent membership

  • India’s candidature for a non-permanent seat in the Security Council has been endorsed unanimously by the Asia Pacific group, which comprises 55 countries, including Pakistan.

How is a non-permanent member nominated?

  • Each year, the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members out of a total of 10, for a two-year term.
  • These 10 seats are distributed among the regions thus: five for African and Asian countries; one for Eastern European countries; two for Latin American and Caribbean countries; two for Western European and other countries.
  • Of the five seats for Africa and Asia, three are for Africa and two for Asia; there is an informal understanding between the two groups to reserve one for an Arab country.
  • The Africa and Asia Pacific group takes turns every two years to put up an Arab candidate.
  • The 55-member Asia-Pacific Group gets to nominate one of its members for the June 2020 elections to a non-permanent seat on the UNSC.

Why it’s special?

  • The endorsement means that India has a “clean slate” candidature – that is there is no other contestant from the group – for the elections that will be held for five non-permanent members next year, for the 2021-22 terms.
  • The development is particularly significant given that Pakistan and China, both countries with which India has had diplomatic challenges at the UN, supported the move.
  • Afghanistan, a potential contender, withdrew its nomination to accommodate India’s candidacy based on the “long-standing, close and friendly relations” between the two countries.

India and UNSC

  • India has already held a non-permanent seat on the UNSC for seven terms: 1950-1951, 1967-1968, 1972-1973, 1977-1978, 1984-1985, 1991-1992 and 2011-2012.
  • It has been keen to hold the seat in 2021-22 to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Independence in 2022.


United Nations Security Council

  • The UNSC is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions.
  • It is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.
  • The Security Council consists of fifteen members. Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, and the United States—serve as the body’s five permanent members.
  • These permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General.
  • The Security Council also has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms. The body’s presidency rotates monthly among its members.
India’s Bid to a Permanent Seat at United Nations

[pib] Strategic Investment Fund under NIIFPIBPrelims Only


Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NIIF, Strategic Investment Fund

Mains level: Government initiatives for reviving infrastructure sector and providing required capital to the sector.


Strategic Investment Fund (under NIIF)

  1. Three funds have been established by the Government under the NIIF platform and registered with SEBI as Category II Alternative Investment Funds.
  2. NIIF II (“Strategic Fund”) is one of those three funds. The other two funds are NIIF (or Master Fund) and NIIF Fund of Funds – I.
  3. The objective of this strategic fund is to invest largely in equity and equity-linked instruments.
  4. It will focus on green field and brown field investments in the core infrastructure sectors.
  5. The NIIF Funds work on a model whereby equity participation from strategic partners (including overseas sovereign / quasi-sovereign / multilateral / bilateral investors) is invited, alongside Government’s contribution.
  6. Government’s contribution / share in the corpus will be 49% in each entity set up as an AIF and will neither be increased beyond, nor allowed to fall below 49%.
  7. The whole of 49% would be contributed by the Government of India directly.


National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF)

  1. National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) is a fund created by the Government of India for enhancing infrastructure financing in the country.
  2. This is different from the National Investment Fund.
  3. Objective: to maximize economic impact mainly through infrastructure development in commercially viable projects, both greenfield and brownfield, including stalled projects. It could also consider other nationally important projects, for example, in manufacturing, if commercially viable.
  4. NIIF was proposed to be set up as a Trust, to raise debt to invest in the equity of infrastructure finance companies such as Indian Rail Finance Corporation (IRFC) and National Housing Bank (NHB).
  5. NIIF is envisaged as a fund of funds with the ability to make direct investments as required. As a fund of fund it may invest in other SEBI registered funds.
  6. The functions of NIIF are as follows:
  • Fund raising through suitable instruments including off-shore credit enhanced bonds, and attracting anchor investors to participate as partners in NIIF;
  • Servicing of the investors of NIIF.
  • Considering and approving candidate companies/institutions/ projects (including state entities) for investments and periodic monitoring of investments.
  • Investing in the corpus created by Asset Management Companies (AMCs) for investing in private equity.
  • Preparing a shelf of infrastructure projects and providing advisory service
India’s Bid to a Permanent Seat at United Nations

Germany certain to win UN council seat, but contest in AsiaIOCRPriority 1


Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: UNSC, Countries elected (mark on map)

Mains level: India’s claim for a permanent seat at UNSC and hurdles in it

UNSC elections

  1. Germany and Belgium are certain to win seats on the U.N. Security Council after Israel dropped out of the race last month
  2. The Maldives, a small island nation that has never been on the U.N.’s most powerful body, was vying for a seat against Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, which has served on the council three times

UNSC structure

  1. The Security Council has five permanent members the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France
  2. 10 members are elected by the 193-member General Assembly for two-year terms
  3. Five countries are elected every year by secret ballot

Uncontested slates

  1. Candidates for non-permanent seats are chosen by regional groups
  2. The only contested race this year is for the Asia-Pacific group’s seat
  3. The other regions have uncontested slates, and their candidates are virtually assured of victory for two-year terms
  4. These are:
  • Belgium and Germany for the Western European and Others group of nations
  • South Africa for the Africa group
  • The Dominican Republic for the Latin America and Caribbean group
India’s Bid to a Permanent Seat at United Nations

India wins elections to key U.N. subsidiary bodiesIOCR


Mains Paper 2: IR | Important International institutions, agencies & fora, their structure, mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations, Commission on Population and Development, Commission for Social Development, Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), UN-Women

Mains level: India holding key positions at international organizations and its impacts

Election to crucial committee

  1. India has won an election to a crucial non-governmental organization committee in the United Nations
  2. It also got elected by acclamation to other subsidiary bodies in five separate polls

About the election

  1. The U.N.’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) held elections to a number of its subsidiary bodies in United Nations
  2. The Committee on Non-Governmental Organisations is a standing committee of ECOSOC
  3. Its main tasks include consideration of applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification submitted by NGOs and consideration of quadrennial reports submitted by NGOs in General and Special categories

Commission on Population and Development

  1. India was also elected by acclamation to the Commission on Population and Development for a term beginning April 16, 2018, and expiring in 2021
  2. Under its terms of reference, the Commission is to assist the Council by arranging for studies and advising the Council on population issues and trends, integrating population and development strategies and population and related development policies and programmes

Commission for Social Development

  1. The Council elected India and Kuwait (Asia-Pacific States) by acclamation to the Commission for Social Development, filling outstanding seats for a four-year term
  2. The Commission’s purpose was to advise ECOSOC on social policies of a general character and, in particular, on all matters in the social field not covered by the specialized inter-governmental agencies

Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

  1. India was among the 17 members elected by acclamation to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
  2. The Commission acts as the principal policymaking body of the U.N. in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice
  3. Its mandate includes improving international action to combat national and transnational crime and the efficiency and fairness of criminal justice administration systems

Executive Board

  1. India was among 14 nations elected by acclamation by the Council to the Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)


  1. For the Executive Board of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), the Council elected by acclamation 16 members, including India
India’s Bid to a Permanent Seat at United Nations

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.
India’s Bid to a Permanent Seat at United Nations

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.
India’s Bid to a Permanent Seat at United Nations

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’s Bid to a Permanent Seat at United Nations

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?

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