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India-UNSC Relations

Why In News? | India-UNSC Relations

  • India recently started its 8th tenure as non-permanent member at United nations security council starting from 1 Jan 2021 for 1 year.
  • There were 5 total countries which got seat as non-permanent member at UNSC. These includes India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico and Norway.
  • India will function as the president of the council twice in 2 years of tenure i.e. in August 2021 and another in 2022.
  • Each member country gets 1 month to hold this position according to the alphabetical order of the member states’ names.
  • Presidency involves presiding over council meetings, synchronizing actions, deciding the content of UNSC debates etc.
  • India will also chair the precarious Taliban and Libya sanctions committees and the Counter-Terrorism Committee of the UN Security Council during its tenure as non-permanent member.
  • Countries replaced includes Belgium, Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia and South Africa.
  • Current members of UNSC are 5 permanent members i.e. china, Russia, france, USA and UK; Estonia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia and Vietnam

 What is UNSC? | India-UNSC Relations

  • Established in 1945, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations, charged with the maintenance of international peace and security as well as accepting new members to the United Nations and approving any changes to UN Charter.
  • 5 organs of the United Nations are—the General Assembly, the Trusteeship Council, the Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat.
  • The UNSC’s role in international security is demarcated by the UN Charter.
  • The charter authorizes the Security Council to probe any situation that has the potential of threatening international peace; recommend procedures for peaceful resolution of a dispute; call upon other member nations to completely or partially interrupt economic relations as well as sea, air, postal, and radio communications.
  • Official languages:- Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish

Structure of Security Council | India-UNSC Relations

  • There are total of 15 members of UNSC out of which 5 members are permanent and out of remaining 10, five members are replaced every year.
  • The members are selected from all the regions of the world. Three members are from Africa, while Asia, Western Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean have two members each.
  • These 10 seats are distributed among the regions of the world:
    • 5 seats for African and Asian countries;
    • 1 for Eastern European countries;
    • 2 for Latin American and Caribbean countries; and
    • 2 for Western European and Other Countries.
  • Elections for terms beginning in even-numbered years select two African members, and one each within Eastern Europe, the Asia Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Elections for terms beginning in odd-numbered years select two Western European and Other members, and one each from Asia Pacific, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

India as non-permanent member in the past

  • India has been non-permanent member for 1950-51, 1967-68, 1972-73, 1977-78, 1984-85, 1991-92 and 2011-12.
  • 1950-51: India supported resolutions calling for cessation of hostilities during the Korean War and for assistance to republic of Korea.
  • 1967-68: India supported another very important resolution allowing UN mission in Cyprus.
  • 1972-73: India strongly proposed admission of Bangladesh into UN, after the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. Later on, Bangladesh became part of UN members.
  • 1977-78:  India took a stand against apartheid and Namibia’s independence in 1978. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was External affairs minister at that time.
  • 1984-85: India supported several resolutions over the Middle East conflicts.
  • 1991-92: PM P.V.Narasimha Rao boasted about India’s role in maintaining international peace and security.
  • 2011-12: As India became emerging economy in 2000s, during last tenure, India strongly supported peacekeeping, counter terrorism, developing countries rights and Africa.
  • Overall India’s track record in UNSC has been impressive thus India is demanding permanent membership to UNSC.

Advantages of being a UNO member

  • Aid and assistance: The UN member gets the worldwide financial and technical help during the occurrence of major disasters such as a major tsunami or flood, epidemic, earthquake and drought.
  • Economical Assistance:- The members of the UN easily get financial assistance from the United Nation’s special agencies, the World Bank Group, and the IMF. This loan can be used to develop the infrastructure of the country and boost the country’s economy. This loan is not given to non-UN members.
  • Protection of the sovereignty of the country:- If a country is a member of the UN then no other country can attack on the sovereignty of UN member country. If it does so, UNO imposes sanctions against the violent country.
  • Protection of Human rights in the country:- The members of the UNO are bound to follow the rules and principles of the UN. One of the basic rules and principles of the UN is that all member countries must respect fundamental human rights. As a result of this discrimination on the basis of race, sex, or religion and colour are prohibited.
  • Help to the health sector of a country: The World Health Organization (WHO), an agency of the UN helps the member countries to improve maternal health and the fight against HIV/AIDS and malaria, and to reduce child/maternal mortality rate and malnutrition in the children. The African continent is the biggest beneficiary of such assistance.

What does it means to be a permanent member at UNSC? | India-UNSC Relations

  • The permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (P5) are the five dominant states to whom the UN Charter of 1945 grants a permanent seat on the UN Security Council: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • The permanent members were all allies as well as victors in World War II and are also all states with nuclear weapons.
  • All five permanent members have the power of veto, which enables any one of them to prevent the adoption of any “fundamental” draft Council resolution, regardless of its level of international support.
  • The veto is exercised when any permanent member—the so-called “P5″—casts a “negative” vote on a “substantive” draft resolution. Abstention or absence from the vote by a permanent member does not prevent a draft resolution from being adopted.
  • It gives a permanent member Decision making power in WTO. And it can put sanctions on other nation when other nation misbehaves.

What to expect in 2021-22 tenure? | India-UNSC Relations

  • India has become an emerging power with good leveraging power at international level.
  • Flagship Initiatives In The Field Of Environment: After the outbreak of COVID-19, the relationship between pandemics and climate change is in focus. In times to come, climate change would be the biggest threat to humanity and India should use the UN platform for taking new initiatives on this important issue. India’s flagship initiatives, International Solar Alliance and Coalition against Disaster Resilient Infrastructure highlights India’s potential leadership role in this arena.
  • Better Diplomatic Relations: India has also worked on maintaining good diplomatic relations with all the permanent members of UNSC apart from China.
  • Keeping Check On China’s Bullying In The Region: India’s presence in the UNSC would be useful in building a narrative and harmony against China’s bullying over India, Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines etc. india can also generate the conditions for resolving the boundary dispute and expand the areas of bilateral cooperation.
  • Making UNSC more effective and representative: India aims to emphasise on better cooperation in the council to avoid any roadblock in decision making over important issues.
  • Rule Of Law And International Law : India always endorse the importance of rule of law and international law, and intend to stand by it.
  • Main focus will be peacekeeping, counter terrorism, maritime security, promoting technology, women, youth and development issues, reformed multilateralism.
  • Better Cooperation With European Partners: India could also use the UNSC tenure to deepen collaboration with its European partners like France and Germany in the security arena, and find common ground with Britain that is carving out a new international path for itself after breaking away from the European Union.
  • India’s stand for permanent membership: India’s case to become permanent member of UNSC would be strengthened by showcasing sincere leadership on international security concerns, especially in a polarised environment.

Challenges in front of India | India-UNSC Relations

  • Lack of consensus on the definition of terrorism: India took the initiative to pilot a draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in 1996. The CCIT is however facing a deadlock at the UN since there are basic differences between various countries on the exact definition of terrorism.
  • China Factor: Beijing is asserting itself at the global stage much more vigorously than ever. It heads at least six UN organisations — and has challenged the global rules. China also continues to audaciously support Pakistan at multilateral for a further destabilizing Indian interests.
  • Post COVID Global Order: Global economy is in messes with various countries facing recession and health emergencies. To handle all these situations there is a need for careful strategy to move the world out of this burdening challenge.
  • Global geopolitics: With the situation deteriorating between USA and Russia and increasing tensions between USA and Iran, it will be tough situation for India to promote multilateral solutions to global problems.

Way forward | India-UNSC Relations

  • As India enters the United Nations Security Council for the third time since the end of the Cold War, there is a very different dynamic than the one it encountered during the earlier tenures in 1991-92 and 2011-12.
  • India, too, has changed over the last decade. The range of Indian interests has expanded and so has the circle of India’s international partners.
  • India’s new stint at the UNSC should therefore be more purposeful and pragmatic. Purposefulness is about integrating its UNSC engagement with India’s broader national goals and Pragmatism is about adapting to the changed conditions at the UNSC and avoiding overly ambitious goals.
  • India’s belief in the dictum of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the whole world is a family), must manifest in bridging the geopolitical divide and play its part in ensuring global justice in areas of common concern like health, climate change, terrorism and reform of global institutions.



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