United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Reforms

What is United Nations Security Council (UNSC)?

The Security Council, the United Nations’ principal crisis- management body, is empowered to impose binding obligations on the 193 UN member states to maintain peace.
Few major Roles:

  • Ensuring international peace and security;
  • Recommending that the General Assembly accept new members to the United Nations;
  • Approving any changes to its charter.

So, no changes to the UN charter or no new member can be admitted into UN without the approval of UNSC (as these resolutions require agreement of all the P5 members).

What is the Security Council’s Structure?

It comprises of two kinds of members:

  1. Five permanent members—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States – collectively known as the P5.
  2. Any one of them can veto a resolution.10 non-permanent members: Along with the five permanent members, the Security Council of the United Nations has temporary members that hold their seats on a rotating basis by geographic region.These members do not have veto powers

The reason behind Veto being limited to just five members has roots in WWII.

The United States and Soviet Union were the outright victors of the war, and, along with the United Kingdom, they shaped the post war political order.

Why does India want the permanent membership of UNSC?

India (or any other country for that matter) would want a permanent membership to the UNSC for two reasons:

First, the veto power, which India could use to defend its interests, say against Pakistan (just like Russia did last year over the civil war in Ukraine).

Second, 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.

Case for India’s claims for permanent position at UNSC

Population: Around 1/6th of the global population.

Democracy: With continuous and functional democraticnexperience, India is best suited to provide these values intonUNSC which is often criticized for acting on behalf of few nations.

Economy: India has become the fifth-largest economy in 2019, overtaking the United Kingdom and France. The country ranks third when GDP is compared in terms of purchasing power parity.

Military: Responsible Nuclear power; 3rd largest military spender after USA and China.

Contributions to UN: India is the largest contributor to the UN Peacekeeping Operations (UNPKO), with nearly 180,000 troops serving in 44 missions since it was established. India is also among the highest financial contributors to the UN, with the country making regular donations to several UN organs.

Active participation in global affairs: India has not only participated but has also taken lead roles in global matters like climate change, ozone depletion, counter terrorism and rule based global order, etc.

Member of G4 nations: Comprising Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan which support each other’s bids for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council.

Although the case for India’s membership is a sound one, but it is not an easy and shredded with many challenges and factorsput forth by various nations and factors.

In News

Syed Akbaruddin who has been India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations since many years, is succeeded by T S Trimurti.

Also, the French envoy to the UN has asserted that India andnnations like Germany, Brazil and Japan are “absolutely needed” as permanent members of a reformed and enlarged UN Security Council to better reflect contemporary realities and the addition of these key members to the UN high-table is among France’s “strategic” priorities.

He underlined that Paris believes the enlargement of the Security Council with the addition of a few key members is “one of our strategic priorities.”

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