India at UNSC and its pursuit for reforms
What is UNSC?
The United Nations Security Council is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, responsible for guaranteeing international peace and security, recommending the admission of new UN members to the General Assembly, and approving any changes to the UN Charter.
The UN Security Council consists of 15 members, five of them are permanent members. The other 10 members are elected for two years. Permanent members include China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. India has been trying to become a permanent member of the council for years but has been unsuccessful due to a lack of votes. The five permanent members have the “right of veto”, which means that if any of these countries do not agree with a resolution, it cannot be adopted. China is the greatest barrier to India’s permanent accession to the Security Council.
Journey of India so far
India commenced its two-year term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council effective January 1, 2021. It is for the eighth time that India has taken its seat among the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council. As a non-permanent member of the UNSC, India had been elected for 1950–51, 1967–68, 1972–73, 1977–78, 1984–85, 1991–92, and 2011–12.
On 01 January 2021, Mexico, Kenya Norway, and Ireland joined India as non-permanent members of the UNSC. The other non-permanent members are Estonia, Niger, Saint Vincent, and the Grenadines, Tunisia, and Vietnam. The Presidency of the Security Council changes hands between its members for a period of one month, in accordance with the English alphabetical order of the member states’ names. India assumed the presidency in August 2021 and will chair for another month in 2022.
India’s agenda at UNSC: Unity in Diversity
India has its objectives very clear as it takes over the presidency at UNSC. India’s agenda is to focus on UN reforms for a more balanced representation in UNSC. India along with other countries has been pushing for expanding the P5. During its tenure, India said it will be focusing on maritime security, peacekeeping, and counter-terrorism.
A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. -John C. Maxwell
Prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi became the first premier of India to chair the UNSC. As India took over the responsibility, his speech focused on putting forward a “framework of mutual understanding and cooperation” that appealed to all the countries to embrace a five-point approach to global cooperation in maritime security affairs-
- peaceful settlement of maritime disputes in accordance with international laws
- removal of barriers to legitimate maritime trade
- joint efforts in tackling maritime threats from natural disasters and non-state actors
- preservation of the maritime environment and resources
- and promotion of responsible maritime connectivity.
India has emerged as a uniquely recognized rising power, regarded by most states. It is time for that recognition and trust to become a reality.
Time and time again, successive Indian leaders have stressed the urgent need to democratize international relations. Reiterating this, the Indian PM Modi said in September 2014:
We must reform the United Nations, including the Security Council, and make it more democratic and participative. Institutions that reflect the imperatives of 20th century won’t be effective in the 21st. It would face the risk of irrelevance; and we will face the risk of continuing turbulence with no one capable of addressing it… Let us fulfill our promise to reform the United Nations Security Council by 2015.
India should try to play a more proactive role on sensitive policy issues worldwide, by adopting informed and coherent policy stances at the UNSC on international security challenges.
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”