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Reforms in the UN Security Council



One of the major foreign policy objectives of Prime Minister Modi was to present a better case before the International Community in regards to India being given permanent status in the Council. The United Nations Security Council is unambiguously the most authoritative organ of the United Nations. The powers of the UNSC is explained very well in the charter itself, chapter V of the Charter of the United Nations does not only provide the basic structure and composition of the council but also defines the functions and the responsibilities. India has been one of the most active members of the United Nations. With being the third-largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping forces, it has gained an eminent position in the global community. Also, a home to almost 17.74% of the world

population it still lacks a permanent representation in the council.

The UNSC is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security through peacekeeping operations, international sanctions, and military actions. 15 member states compose the Security Council, 5 of which are permanent and have veto power and the rest 10 elected for a term of two years by the United Nations General Assembly, a very detailed and systematic procedure.

The United Nations Member States have increased since its creation in 1945, from 51 to 118 until 1965. In 1965, the number of UNSC seats was increased from 11 to 15 with an addition of four non-permanent members to the original six non-permanent seats. Currently, the number of UN member states is 193, higher than when the enlargement took place, and therefore is the main reason why the UNSC should be enlarged once again. Former Secretary Generals like Ban Ki-Moon and Kofi Annan also expressed their views and opinions about the need for the Global Community to collaborate and bring about an overdue process of change in the council.


The debate for reforms initiates with four very basic arguments:


1. The fact that important countries from the developing world have a legitimate claim to be permanently represented in the Security Council.

2. The fact that the UN now has 193 member states out of which only 15 are represented in the UNSC.

3. The growing influence by economies like India, Germany and Japan on the international stage.

4. Working method of the council. However, the fact that all the intensive reform debate failed in the United Nations is because of various opposing legitimate arguments. The question of the Veto power persists. Circumstantially, if the council agrees to provide permanent representation to more member states it will dilute the council. The “power of veto” is usually cited as the major problem with the UNSC. By wielding their veto power, any of the UNSC’s five permanent members can prevent the adoption of any UNSC draft resolution not to their liking.



India Case Study


India joined the UN in 1945 and is the third largest contributor of troops to United Nations Peacekeeping missions. India’s international identity, as stated by many foreign journals has been shaped by its role and contributions in UN peacekeeping. More than 100,000 Indian troops have served in UN missions during the past 50 years. Today, out of the total over 8,500 peacekeepers in the field are Indians, more than twice as many as the UNSC’s five permanent members. US President Barak Obama in support of India’s bid for a permanent seat on anenlarged Security Council

cited “India’s long history as a leading contributor to United Nations peacekeeping mission”. The importance and the relevance of the Indian Representation in the council is backed by the fact that it has been elected seven times to the UN Security Council. Most recently from 2011 to 2012 with receiving 187 of the 190 total votes.


Being the world’s second-largest population and the largest democracy, it is also the world’s tenth-largest economy by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Currently, India maintains the world’s third-largest active armed force and is a nuclear weapon state. India’s bid for the permanent member of UNSC is backed by permanent members namely France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, although the United States initially opposed India’s candidacy on grounds of nuclear proliferation, as India has acquired nuclear weapons and not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.


On 15 April 2011, China officially expressed its support for an increased Indian role at the United Nations, without explicitly endorsing India’s Security Council ambitions. However, recently China has expressed its support for Indian candidacy as a permanent member of the Security Council if India revoked its support for Japanese candidacy, thus making India the only candidate that has received support from all permanent members and most other nations as well. The African Union also supports India’s candidacy for the permanent member of UNSC. Pakistan is the only nation which specifically opposes India’s candidacy.


In Conclusion


Without any reform, the Security Council may lose legitimacy, other multilateral institutions may gain relevance, and decentralization of international peace and security could result.

These suggestions also have practical implications in regards toefficient functionality at the UN; better coordination and unity within regional organizations can help improve the work of Council members from those regions. Furthermore, expansion of the Council, whether in the permanent or a new category ofmembership, will allow member states elected for those seats to shift focus from time consuming, expensive election campaigns at the UN, and better focus on and contribute to the work of theCouncil.


Author’s Analysis


The United Nations was formed on the principles of the Democracy and rule of law. The security council being the most authoritative organ of the united nations therefore should embody those spirits. The security council is neglecting a permanent representation to 1.2 billion people, strictly not in sync with the ideals of democracy. The attack on the CRPF earlier this year, in Pulwama Jammu Kashmir was condemned globally. Despite of the global support India had to go through a tough procedure to report the matter to the United Nations Security Council because of it not currently being a member. Despite the fact that the organization Jaish-e-Mohammed took the responsibility of the attack, India faced a lot of challenged in the UNSC to declare Maulana Masood Azhar, founder and leader of the JeM to be blacklisted. India had to rely upon other P5nations to speed the process.

The recent development in the subcontinent are extremely crucial for the world community and in particular for the united nations. The abrogation of the article 370 of the constitution of India was alleged to be a violation of the UNSC resolution on Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan approached the Council in order to make the global community collectively condemn the action. Although this plea had no standing since the matter and this amendment is strictly the internal matter of India. However, if India had a permanent seat in the council Pakistan perhaps

would have thought twice before approaching the council themselves.


Nevertheless, it is important that the United Nation recognizes the voice of 1.2 billion people and assign India a permanent representation in the council.


“It is perhaps true to mention the UNSC as a toothless Giantwith absolutely no voice of its own disregarding the trueessence of global bureaucracy, however new tides of changeare inevitable to the institution of peace, as the concept is themost dynamic to interpretation.”

- Pulkit Taneja

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