The Dilemma: India’s permanent UNSC seat

⚬ July 27, 2021⚬ Satya Pulukuri | Indic Researchers Forum

India was elected 8th time as a non-permanent member of the U.N Security Council in June 2020. After working alongside many developing countries through G4 and L69, India's quest for permanent membership has continued. It is a legitimate aspiration that will help India to maintain and strengthen international peace and security. As said by Prime Minister Modi "For how long will India be kept out of UN’s decision-making structure?" UNSC reforms have always been India’s priority. Because the current UNSC demography cannot keep up with the evolving threats.

It is difficult to address these threats with limited representation. Most parts of the world are unrepresented. And hence the Security Council is losing its legitimacy. This can lead to serious implications for humanity. Despite many changes in global realities, the Security Council has not changed significantly since 1945. Considering new traditional and non-traditional challenges and pandemics, the world needs a more efficient, effective, and Representative Council. For instance, the absence of African countries among the permanent members is unfair when most issues addressed are related to the African Continent.

India's demand for permanent membership is justifiable as India is the largest democracy in the world which accounts for 17.7% of the world population. India is not only funding the UN significantly but also is leading many peacebuilding operations while upholding the UN charter, preserving its essence and principles. India is also the founding member of the UN and the 5th largest economy in the world. Simultaneously it is a country with an independent foreign policy that strongly advocate multilateralism. It has also come up with a unique five "S' approach that is, Samman(Respect), Samvad(Dialogue), Sahyog(Cooperation) and Shanti(Peace) to create Samriddhi(Prosperity).

India believes that these reforms can tackle the lack of transparency in peacekeeping missions. And can lead to the proper address of issues like terrorism and cyber threats. An outdated structure where most of the colonized countries of the 19th and 20th century are not represented is not capable of solving the current challenges around the world. With permanent membership, India can affirm its views more efficiently, on various global issues like global development, climate change, international governance, and poverty eradication.

India believes that delaying the process of reforms is due to a lack of transparency in the working methods of the Intergovernmental Negotiation process. Brazil and South Africa released a joint ministerial statement that suggested a goal-oriented approach with the provision for considerable negotiations based on a single comprehensive text in a formal session.

Many countries have been openly supporting India's aspiration for permanent membership. From the beginning of UN Security Council reforms initiatives, China’s opposition has grown. China is the only P5 member which has been constantly opposing India's proposal. India-China relations have also been hampered over time due to several things like their competition over regional influence, the border disputes and their historical ties with Pakistan. They have also rejected G4 with a motive to reduce the pace of UNSC reforms. Chinese claim to safeguard the unity of members and prestige of the UN.

India believes with over 14.23% of the Muslim population it can solve the west Asian crisis better than China. Finally, India believes that this membership will help the developing countries put their matters more effectively. With veto power, India can counter Chinese dominance in Asia. India's bid for permanent membership is genuine; being a strong military power and the 6th biggest economy it cannot be neglected in the changing dynamics of the 21st century.

To conclude, UN Security Council reforms is a key priority for maintaining international peace and security; especially considering the composition and domination of the developed states from 1945.

The need of the hour is a movement towards Multilateralism, an increment in composition and diverse geographical representation. This will provide more legitimacy and credibility in peacekeeping missions and working methods. Reforms are necessary to listen to voices from across the world so that new challenges and threats can be identified.

About the author:

Satya Pulukuri is a first year student pursuing BA Political Science Honours from Atma Ram Sanatan Dharma College, University Of Delhi. He has keen interest in Global Politics, Indian Foreign policy and security.


The article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the views of the Organisation.

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