Is India Suited For A Permanent Seat At The UNSC?

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UN Security Council

Maintenance of peace of security is the fundamental objective of United Nations and this obligation is to be fulfilled by United Nations Security Council. UNSC is one of the principal organs of United Nations. The changing global power equation has led to clamor for reforms in UN especially the all important UNSC. Thus, need of new reforms are expected in UNSC such as new categories of membership, focus on regional representation. One question which countries are debating for a very long time is the new categories of membership. A number of groups such as – G4, L69, C10/African Union, UFC, Arab group, Caricom, Pacific SIDS (Small Island Developing States) have been formed by different countries to lobby for the UNSC permanent seat.

At present, UNSC has 15 members, 5 permanent members (U.S.A, Russia, France, China, U.K) with Veto power and 10 non permanent members elected by General Assembly for a two year term. UNSC over the years has performed its task of maintaining international peace and security. However, in recent years, UNSC is not that effective in its form and that it needs to be essentially reformed.  India along with Brazil, Japan and Germany (together known as the G-4) has proposed expansion of the membership of the UNSC in permanent and non-permanent categories. A large number of countries have supported India’s initiatives for reform of the UNSC as well as endorsed its entry for permanent membership.

The point of having permanent membership on the UN Security Council is to give the Security Council some sort of foundation that provides for the ability to act and the ability to maintain order. India is still not powerful enough, its economy is not close to being on par among the other permanent members, and only adding another country (and thus adding another veto) would make things very complicated. India’s case is almost certainly no stronger or weaker than the other three countries that are also talked about when discussing Security Council reforms: Germany, Japan, and Brazil. I don’t think the permanent membership of the UNSC should be a priority for India, given the current geo-political scenario of the world. Yes, it gives India a greater say in world affairs and is an acknowledgement by the world of her rising power.  The reputation and acknowledgement should come first, and then things like permanent membership of the council will follow. India needs to work on infrastructure, education technological sectors and the quality of life of people first. Even work on high-tech industries like Space, Defense and high-quality manufacturing needs to be a main concern. The adulation and recognition will come as a result of this. India must canvass for greater clout in organizations like IMF and the World Bank, which are currently dominated by Europeans and Americans respectively since their inception.

India is generally well liked by most members of the UNSC. Its relations are at an all time high with important partners such as the US, Russia and even China to some extent as well as other developing countries and India is generally looked up as a model of a successful developing country based on a democratic government.  India shouldn’t strive for more influence – its focus should be on more substantial goals such as infrastructure development, ensuring better standards of education, furtherance of high-tech industries like space and defense manufacturing and modernization; greater influence will come as a result of these accomplishments. India is a shining beacon of a democracy working – defying all odds, and we have enough reasons to feel proud about it. We must focus our diplomatic energies on making new friends and opening new trade routes, core technological/development sectors which benefit India far more than striving for securing a seat at UNSC.


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