Historic victory for India at UN

S Madhusudhana Rao

There is no denying the fact that the United Nations is a puppet in the hands of five veto-wielding powers – the US, Russia, China, France and the UK – which seek to establish a global order according to their designs. Since its establishment in 1945 following the Second World War, only the UN General Assembly has been adding members, not the Security Council. At present the UN Assembly has 193 member-states and the Council has the permanent Big 5 and 10 non-permanent members elected on geographical basis for a two-year term.

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S Madhusudhana Rao

For a long time, India has been among the proponents from developing countries to demand Security Council expansion on the basis geographical representation and contributions countries have made towards global peace and order. A look at the Council’s composition explains the anomaly. While only China is from the whole of Asia-Pacific region, Russia, France and the UK are from Europe and the US is the Big Brother of all. African and South American countries have no place in the Council coterie. India, the second most populous country in the world and a key nation in Asia-Pacific, has to satisfy with rotational non-permanent seat. In other words, the UN Security Council that is supposed to be an arbitrator of global conflicts is run according to self-interests and wishes of five member-states.

The need to correct this imbalance was felt long ago, but little has been done, thanks to manipulation and muscle of big powers to successfully brush off the Third World countries’ demand to reform the Council. Its expansion is one of several issues which, if implemented, will make the world body a true representative of all regions. In the past, several draft resolutions had been prepared listing the proposed reforms but they had never passed the muster.

However, on Monday, the UN General Assembly had resolved to adopt a negotiating text for Council reforms amidst protests from China, Russia and Pakistan which said it was “not fair, not transparent.”  The decision has given a big boost to India’s hope – and dream – of becoming a Security Council member.  What it means is the resolution gives member states a blueprint for negotiations on Council reforms.

Opposition to the resolution from China and Pakistan was expected because from the very beginning Islamabad has been campaigning against New Delhi’s moves alleging hegemony. China being Pak’s all-weather friend has always backed its ally at international forums. Russia, a ‘trusted’ comrade of India at one time, has become a fence-sitter ever since Delhi started moving closer to the US and its opposition is clearly aimed at intimidating Delhi. Nevertheless, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s backroom diplomacy in mustering support from all other countries seems to have paid off.

India’s representative at the UN, Asoke Mukerji, called the passage of the resolution “historic and path-breaking.” He said it was significant on three counts. First, this was “the first time in the history of the inter-governmental negotiation (IGN) process that a decision on UNSC reform has been adopted through an official document.” Second, this decision has set the IGN process formally on an irreversible text-based negotiations path and third, the document used as the basis for negations would be the one circulated most recently in July.

Since some member countries had agreed to the text during the 69th UN Assembly session, talks will continue in the 70th session, opening on September 15.

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