- Besides France, five Nordic countries comprising Norway, Finland, Denmark, Iceland and Sweden have affirmed their support for India’s permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
- Members: Apart from the five permanent members, the UNSC also includes 10 non-permanent members who are each chosen for a two-year term.
- India as non permanent member: India has been elected as a non-permanent member on seven occasions in the past and started its eighth stint on January 1 this year.
- Elected from UN General Assembly: According to UN rules, the General Assembly “elects each year five non-permanent members” who have to bag two-thirds majority to qualify for the seat.
- Presidency Change: The presidency passed to India from France and in September 2021, Ireland will take over from India.
- Powers of UNSC President:
- The UNSC Handbook says that the president is “responsible for the conduct of the meetings of the Security Council and is authorised to represent (it) in relations with other organs of the UN and with member states”.
What makes India a potential candidate for UNSC membership?
- Membership: India is not only a member of G77, but also partially in the G7 and G20.
- Interests of developing countries: India shares warm strategic, economic, political and cultural relations with most of the G7 countries, but also voices for the interests of developing countries.
- Global benefits: By actively working toward attaining climate goals herself, without waiting for all others to join, India has shown leadership capacities for the global benefits.
- Even the concept of make in India is suffixed with “make for the world”.
- India’s pool of skill and talent is a proven global asset.
- India is not only an ancient & civilisation nation, but also a democracy which operates under the rule of law with free markets and has maintained a peace-loving nation’s reputation, with very limited geography of conflicts.
- Role in international affairs: The recent global supply chain disruption, pandemic, climate change, renewable energy and now the incipient food issue, the security situation in some parts of the world- all desire & require India to play a larger role in international affairs and cooperation.
- Equitable world order: There is a need for a more equitable world order to uphold the principles of democracy at the global level.
- Pressure from G4 member: India has been seeking a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council as a member of the G4 which is an organisation composed of Brazil, Germany, Japan, and India, all who are currently seeking permanent representation.
- Supporters: The Russian Federation, United States, United Kingdom and France support India and the other G4 countries gaining permanent seats.
- Justified Demand: India makes a number of claims to justify its demand.
- India has the world’s second largest population and is the world’s largest liberal democracy.
- It is also the world’s fifth largest economy and third largest in terms of purchasing power parity as of 2020.
- India is the largest contributor of troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions with 7,860 personnel deployed with ten UN Peacekeeping Missions as of 2014 after Bangladesh and Pakistan, all three nations being in South Asia.
- India has contributed more than 180,000 troops, the largest number from any country, participated in more than 43 missions and 156 Indian peacekeepers have made the supreme sacrifice while serving in UN missions.
Reason for demanding Permanent Member Status
- Veto Power: Veto power has been the exclusive domain of P5 members. India could use veto power to defend its interests, say against Pakistan (just like Russia did last year over the civil war in Ukraine).
- Prestige Associated: The sheer prestige associated with permanent membership of a multilateral forum. India’s elevation will also be an acknowledgment of its rise as a global power, ready to play a key role in the council’s objectives of international peace and security.
- Advantages in General Assembly: As a permanent member, India could take benefits of the type of majority required to pass a resolution, requirement of approval of the United Nations Security Council etc.
Challenges for India’s Bid
- Lack of Political Will: Although there is a general agreement towards change in the system, different countries have different perceptions of the requirement for change.
- Coffee Club: It is an informal group comprising 40-odd member states, mostly middle-sized states who oppose bigger regional powers grabbing permanent seats, has been instrumental in holding back reforms to the United Nations Security Council over the past six years.
- Chinese Opposition: China being a permanent member blocks the growth of India becoming a Permanent Member.
- US Withdrawing Support: Present US Administration is going away from its previous trajectory and opposing India’s request.
- Growth Trajectory of India: India’s socio economic growth could become a question in making it a permanent member.
- Uphold global peace, security, and order: To play a significant and meaningful role, India needs to have a permanent seat at the institution that was built to uphold global peace, security, and order.
- The support from the five Nordic countries and France indicates that these propositions are getting more and more included in the world’s assessment of India.
- China has also previously indicated that it may drop opposition to India joining the UNSC as a permanent member if it calls off cooperation with Japan to get onto the UN high table.
- India must place high hopes in the potential of the non-permanent members in the Council to play the role of constructive peace makers.