RSTV: THE BIG PICTURE- UN SECURITY COUNCIL REFORMS
The issue of push to expand the UN Security Council… which is tasked with primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security… Off late, France has emerged as a leading voice to expand the powerful global body with its envoy to UN underlining the need to place India, along with Germany and Brazil, as permanent members… The French envoy also added that an enlarged and reformed security council is needed to reflect the world as it is… India too has been at the forefront pushing for the long-pending reform of the UN Security Council… stressing that it rightly deserves a place as a permanent member… India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin had said that a total of 113 member states out of 122… which is more than 90% of the written submissions of the member states support the expansion in the Security Council.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the 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.
- The G-4 nations comprise Brazil, Germany, India and Japan.
- These 4 countries support each other’s bid for permanent seats on the United Nations security council.
Why India should be given a permanent seat in the council?
- For the first 40 years we did not want permanent membership.
- In 1993, we submitted a written proposal but did not mention that we need permanent membership.
- Only after that we have started asking for a permanent membership in the council.
- India was among the founding members of United Nations.
- It is the second largest and a one of the largest constant contributor of troops to United Nations Peacekeeping missions.
- Today, India has over 8,500 peacekeepers in the field, more than twice as many as the UN’s five big powers combined.
- India, since long time, has been demanding expansion of UNSC and its inclusion as permanent member in it. It has been a member of UNSC for 7 terms and a member of G-77 and G-4, so permanent membership is a logical extension.
Need for Reforms:
- Only 5 permanent members in such a larger world.
- It doesn’t represent the current balance of power.
- South America and Africa have no representative at all.
- Changes in geopolitical realities since UNSC formation.
Hindrance on the way:
- They make many statements but none of the permanent 5 want reforms of UNSC.
- Britain and France have made some voice in order to support India, their primary goal is to ensure whatever happens their position remain because they both have joined the EU and as part of the EU they need to coordinate their foreign policies.
- One opposing another country’s entry.
- No consensus among African countries.
How beneficial are the reforms at UNSC for India?
- We can project our interests more powerfully.
- We would be directly responsible for peace and security questions.
- Rise as a global power.
- India’s claim for permanent membership is a genuine demand in the changed geo politics of 21st century as we have discussed before. India is possibly the most obvious and least controversial option to add as a permanent member, and probably long overdue for a seat.
- UNSC is mandated to keep international peace and security.
- However it is under constant criticism for its plans and actions. It is said to be performing in unilateral way with unquestioned authority, working only for vested interests and not making non-permanent members inclusive in their decision making.
- In this context, we can see that India’s demand is not illegitimate as India does wield a certain influence in world affairs today due to its impressive economic growth and strong military base.
- South Asia being a victim of various repercussions of war, terrorism, and extremism India gains more say on its and neighbor’s problems and will have power to challenge the ethos and working style of permanent members of UNSC.
- In the contemporary period, if India has to make a strong claim to permanent membership, it has to single mindedly focus on economic growth, with concomitant military might.