India’s chances of becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) appear brighter with the General Assembly agreeing to adopt a negotiating text for UNSC reforms. Actually the reform of the UNSC is something that has been discussed since 1993. The structure of the council reflects the world balance of power of 1945. Since then the world has moved on and the power dynamics have changed. CENTO (the Central Treaty Organisation), formed to contain communism, has been dissolved.
Communism is no longer the State ideology of many nations of Europe, Africa and South America, and Cuba and the United States have established diplomatic relations. In this what has come through are the strong trends towards globalisation, which has been an ongoing, inexorable process from the time of the industrial revolution. India has been a willing partner in that.
If the UNSC opens its door wider, and there is no reason why it should not, India has a claim to entry. The country is the third-largest economy in Asia and the fastest-growing in the world. India’s companies have for long been operating in various parts of the world and professionals from this country have excelled in various fields. So this should be the right occasion to recalibrate the disequilibrium of the existing world order. Of course the reform of the UNSC can be done in various ways and on various counts. One is by defining categories of members, restricting the scope of the veto held by the five permanent members, giving representation to regions, increasing the size of the council and amending its working methods. If this is done there would be greater scope for India and other countries to be at the high table.
China and Russia have predictably opposed any expansion of the ‘permanent five’ membership of the UNSC. In the process the whole of Africa and South America are without membership in the ‘permanent five’. The five countries with veto powers have used their power only to back their favourite nations as non-permanent members. Given this power barrier, where the judges are judging for themselves, India should tread cautiously and not treat the present opportunity as ‘now or never’. There is always a next time, for which this is a healthy precedent.
Read:India welcomes UN move for Security Council reforms