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UNSC: How Close India is?

India’s bid for permanent membership in United Nations Security Council (UNSC) got a big momentum on Monday after UN general assembly (UNGA) agreed to have a common negotiating text for Security Council reforms. But how close India is remains a speculative question and experts of global affairs say that still a long road to travel.

What has changed now?

Spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs said “this is a significant development as after more than two decades, we can now commence text-based negotiations so that the long-pending reforms of the UN Security Council can be achieved”. All the members of UN have agreed that during the 70th session of UNGA starting from Tuesday, they will have text based discussions on the agenda of reforming SC. Currently, UNSC consists of 5 permanent members which includes France, China, Russia, US and UK, and 10 temporary members elected on rotation wise in every two years. So other applicants for permanent membership such as Germany, Japan, and Brazil may now also bid for the same under this framework.

However, Russia, China and US didn’t contribute to this text which indicates that still world powers are not enthusiastic about this move. Russia and USA both have supported India’s bid at many occasions, China on the other hand is totally against any expansion of the UNSC.

For the next one year, the discussion will be held under UN agenda to discuss the “Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council.” Once the draft is ready, it will be put on voting in UNGA, where 2/3 votes will be needed to clear it.

Who supports Indian bid?

Almost all the UN members support India’s bid for permanent membership. At several occasions four out of the five permanent members also supported India’s candidature. China is the only permanent members who has a dubious attitude supporting India. It’s easy to understand due to China’s close ties with Pakistan.

India, Brazil, Japan and Germany which is called G4 nations support each other’s candidacy for the permanent membership in the Security Council.

Who Opposes?

The proposed reform has been opposed by the Uniting for Consensus comprising of regional rival countries of G4. For example, in the case of India, it is opposed by Pakistan, Brazil opposed by Argentina, Mexico and Colombia, Germany opposed by Italy and Spain and Japan opposed by South Korea.

Why India deserves?

India which is a home to 1.28 billion population and second fastest growing economy of the world. Firstly, such a large population can’t be kept at bay in the decision making process of world security. Secondly, India is the largest democratic secular nation in the world and always pledged for the world peace. India is one of the largest contributor to UN Peacekeeping Missions.

However, if we compare India with other applicants such as Japan and Germany, it would be easy to indicate that both countries have a better chance in terms of economy. But at the pace Indian economy is growing it can use its economic might in future to work for the world peace. Currently, Indian contribution to UN budget is 0.28% which is very small. So in order to realize this dream Indian might have to increase its contribution to UN budget.

What India will gain from it? Firstly, India can use ‘veto power’ to defend its national interests in the South Asia region especially against Pakistan as Russia did in Ukraine civil war. Secondly, the prestige attached to permanent member of UNSC will project India as a responsible world power and who is ready to play a key role in global peace and security.

India along with Russia believe that UNSC doesn’t reflect the changed environment of multipolar world and now the time has come to a better representation of world powers in the global body especially developing countries.

The questions ahead?

As discussed earlier India is not the only country eyeing for the spot in UNSC, other countries Japan, Germany and Brazil will also bid for the same. The proposed expansion of UNSC opens a variety of questions regarding how it will be reformed. Some of the questions are: How many countries will join the P5? What will be the criteria of inclusion – economic status, human development or regional basis? Why India not Japan?

It is well known that P5 countries would not like to see the expansion of UNSC. Even the countries who have supported India’s bid are giving only a verbal support, a concrete support is still missing. It will be early to predict about Indian bid as India has to travel along road for realizing this dream. But after this announcement surely the countries seeking permanent membership are one step closer to their dream.

India deserves a chance or not it will be decided by further discussion in the UNGA but in the changed scenario a question arises: Do France and UK deserve a permanent membership in the UNSC?

Nachiket Nishant loves to write on issues related to politics and international affairs. He has done his masters in international relations. Currently, he is a lead policy researcher at The Indian Iris.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of The Indian Iris and The Indian Iris does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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