The long road ahead: India’s run at Security Council
India’s two-year term on the United Nations Security Council or UNSC will conclude on December 31, 2012, but India is unlikely to leave the Council for years beyond that date, if ever.delhi Updated: Nov 09, 2010 23:13 IST
India’s two-year term on the United Nations Security Council or UNSC will conclude on December 31, 2012, but India is unlikely to leave the Council for years beyond that date, if ever. And US President Barack Obama’s ringing endorsement for India to occupy a permanent seat on the Council has just cemented that position. In essence, capturing the non-permanent seat has led to a situation of “permanence” for India at the high table.
There are two scenarios facing India: of an interim arrangement and of permanent reform. One or the other is almost certain to come through before the end of India’s two-year term as a non-permanent member on the UNSC from the Asia region.
“We have no intention of leaving the Security Council. We are working to dovetail one into the other,” a senior diplomat noted. The implication there was that India would continue on the Council either through an interim solution or if a permanent solution is found, for which negotiations are in progress at the United Nations. That latter process is expected to conclude by early 2012.
Diplomats at India’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York said that the American President’s endorsement had had an “electrifying effect” with regard to hastening the reform process. They also said the US President’s statement would help “silence the skeptics”.
India’s case will be bolstered by additional endorsements in the weeks ahead, with both French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev expected to reaffirm their nations’ support for India to be at the high table of the UN, during their respective visits to India next month.
The only permanent member of the UNSC yet to endorse India is China but even if that does not occur, all indications are that it may not veto a decision of the UN General Assembly to add countries to permanent positions, including India.
But the middle ground is being explored as well and is expected to be enunciated by the French President. That calculus sees new members being voted to the UNSC with terms of eight years or more. These members can be reelected with an “automatic lock in” when it comes to the “final solution”, which would be permanent status when the reform process is completed.
The US President’s announcement has also changed the dynamic in another way. While earlier there were voices saying that UNSC reform could take many years more, it may have injected greater impetus to the process.