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For the Security Council to represent genuine multilateralism in its decisions and actions, its membership must reflect contemporary world realities. Can we then ignore objective criteria such as population, size, economy and contribution to UN peacekeeping operations while deciding allocation of seats in the Security Council?

india Updated: Nov 10, 2003 21:19 IST

The United Nations Charter clearly expresses the need 'to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war' and 'to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security'. Its unique legitimacy flows from a universal perception that it pursues a larger purpose than the interests of one country or a small group of countries. Unfortunately this vision of an enlightened multilateralism has not yet materialized.

Over the decades the UN membership has grown enormously and the scope of its activities has expanded greatly, with new additions to its agencies and programmes. But in the political and security dimensions of its activities, the United Nations has not kept pace with the changes in the world.

For the Security Council to represent genuine multilateralism in its decisions and actions, its membership must reflect contemporary world realities. Most UN members today recognise the need for an enlarged and restructured Security Council, with more developing countries as permanent and non-permanent members.

Why expansion is necessary?

The Security Council today still reflects the global power structure of 1945 with power being concentrated in the hands of the five SC members. This arrangement makes the Council undemocratic and often ineffective.

"A seat for India would make the body [UN] more representative and democratic. With India as a member, the Council would be a more legitimate and thus a more effective body" writes Robert Wilcox in the article, `Yes, a Security Council seat for India', February 10, 2003, International Herald Tribune  

The Security Council remains imbalanced in favour of the industrialized North and hence lacks legitimacy, especially in the eyes of the developing world. The UN Secretary General and other leaders of the world have echoed the call for broader representation and expansion of the Security Council, thathas beenon the U.N. reform agenda for more than a decade and as the recent crisis demonstrated, the need is very urgent.

Vibrant culture and spirituality

India is the world's biggest, most vibrant, liberal, secular democracy. It is a democracy that has struggled out of colonialism and painful subservience to colonial interests, therefore it has a perspective that is diametrically opposite to that of the colonizing and neo-imperial powers.

India is one of the oldest living civilizations and a steady and vibrant source of influential culture and spirituality. It is the world's largest Hindu nation and the second-largest Muslim nation, and a secular state, which has had three Muslim Presidents.

This politically, spiritually and historically enriched land has been the germinating point for some of major religions including Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism, and is home to people of most of the world's religions as well as movements like non-violence, which have translated into mass methods of legitimate struggle against oppression in contemporary international relations.

First Published: Nov 10, 2003 06:07 IST