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Indian UNSC Permanent Membership

Context:

The G20 meeting in New Delhi clearly demonstrated India’s increasing importance on the global stage. The fact that it was able to successfully craft a unified statement addressing significant matters, such as the conflict in Ukraine, underscored the extent of its global impact. Consequently, including India as a permanent member in an expanded UN Security Council would more accurately represent the current dynamics of the world.

Relevance:

GS Paper – 2

  • Important International Institutions
  • Groupings & Agreements Involving India and/or Affecting India’s Interests
  • Effect of Policies & Politics of Countries on India’s Interests

Mains Question:

How can India build upon its achievements in G20 to push for UNSC reforms? What are the challenges in this regard? (10 marks, 150 words).

Push For Reforms:

Over time, three groups have arisen to push for changes in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). These groups have contrasting perspectives on the kind of reforms needed:

  • G4 coalition consisting of India, Brazil, Germany, and Japan- the G4 advocates for permanent UNSC membership.
  • Uniting for Consensus bloc composed of regional rivals to the G4 like Pakistan, Italy, Argentina, and South Korea- Uniting for Consensus seeks an enlargement of non-permanent seats exclusively. Moreover, within the P5, China has adopted a stance aligned with the Uniting for Consensus faction to oppose the granting of permanent seats to India and Japan.
  • The African Union- It demands two permanent African seats with veto powers.

Neglect in reforming the UNSC:

  • The most recent expansion of the council occurred in 1965, aiming to increase the count of non-permanent, rotating members to 10. However, the composition of the five permanent members with veto power has remained unchanged since 1945, except for the transition from the Republic of China to the People’s Republic of China and the replacement of the Soviet Union by Russia.
  • This lack of change is primarily due to the significant hurdles involved in implementing reforms to the UN Security Council. Amending the UN Charter requires approval from two-thirds of UN member states through a vote, and it must subsequently receive ratification from the same number of member states. Importantly, this process necessitates the consent of all five permanent members of the UNSC (P5).

Conclusion:

Considering the current state of India-China relations, it’s improbable that Beijing will endorse New Delhi’s stance in the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, a renewed effort is required for UN Security Council (UNSC) reforms to ensure the council’s continued relevance. As demonstrated by the Ukraine conflict and other ongoing crises, the absence of an expanded UNSC has resulted in significant neglect of issues affecting the Global South. To prevent the UN from following the path of the League of Nations, it is essential to include countries like India as permanent members of the UNSC.


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