India’s demand for transparency in UN Security Council reform process

Context:

India has demanded transparency in the UN Security Council reform process so that the people can know what is preventing the members from translating discussions into a negotiating text for the much-needed revamp of the world body’s top organ.

Introduction:

  • United Nations members have not been able to agree on even a document that would be the basis for negotiating reforms, according to Indian Ambassador to the UN Syed Akbaruddin
  • He was speaking at the plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council.
  • He emphasized that there was no instances of institutional inertia that resisted constructive adaptation that the inability to translate discussions into a text for negotiations.
  • This was despite 10 years of so-called inter-governmental negotiations authorised by the General Assembly and the continuous annual consideration of the agenda item here since 1993, he said.

India’s demand:

  • India has demanded transparency in the UN Security Council reform process so that the people can know what is preventing the members from translating discussions into a negotiating text for the much-needed revamp of the world’s body’s top organ.
  • India has also been actively pursuing its quest to be included in the reformed United Nations Security Council.
  • India supports expansion of both permanent and non-permanent members’ category. The latter is the only avenue for the vast majority of Member States to serve on the Security Council. Reform and expansion must be an integral part of a common package.

Why there is need for reforms?

  • Due to proliferating transnational threats, deepening economic interdependence worsening environmental degradation-all call for effective multilateral action.
  • Lack of incremental change in our approach to issues of importance.
  • The United Nations Security Council does not reflect “contemporary realities” and has become dysfunctional because of the lack of reform in the institution.
  • There is institutional inertia.
  • Delays in reforming the Security Council caused by “the inability to translate discussions into a text for negotiations.
  • Even after a decade, UN members have not been able to agree on a single document that could form the basis for reforms, Akbaruddin said, while demanding greater transparency in the reform process.
  • UNSC has to acknowledge the current geopolitical realities which are very different from the time when UNSC was formed.
  • To reflect current global dynamics and to give equitable representation to different geographical regions in the world.
  • New emergent powers who have joined hands as G4 (India, Brazil, Japan, and Germany) have been pressing for permanent seat in the council.
  • UNSC general ineffectiveness , it strong bent towards the already powerful P5, the veto power and the issue of geographical representation.
  • Presently, any reform of the United Nations Security Council would require the agreement of at least five two-thirds of UN member states, and that of all members of the United Nations Security Council.
  • UNSC is facing credibility crisis.

Importance of UNSC reforms for India:

  • Raise India’s geopolitical image in the international arena by becoming a permanent member.
  • Ensuring that any future resolution against India for undue harm can be vetoed by her.
  • Furthers India’s adherence to principles of democracy as India’s voice will be taken into account.
  • However, this move is being opposed by some of the members of UNSC wanting to maintain the status quo. This is because:
  • Inclusion of India will raise voices from other countries for their inclusion in UNSC.
  • Greater number of members will hinder any effective decision making because of conflicting interests.
  • Reduces the geo-political weight of the existing members as for China in case of the Asian region.

What reform measures need to be taken?

  • Reforms to the UN Security Council would require benevolence of the permanent members of the Security Council.
  • Modern challenges take the concerted efforts not just of governments, but also of whole societies, and so wider society could be more involved in the diplomatic process.
  • Transparency in the working of diplomats is a useful adaptation for pathway to progress.
  • There is need to consider options of opening the process, so that others are aware of what is it that stops the current discussions from even beginning on the path of a negotiating text.
  • Reform of the Security Council includes looking into membership categories, adding more permanent members- presently five countries are permanent members and the council’s working methods.
  • India is among the nations proposed to be added as a permanent member.
  • Adequate presence of developing countries is needed in the Security Council.
  • Nations of the world must feel that their stakes in global peace and prosperity are factored into the UN’s decision making.
  • There must be an inclusive approach based on transparent consultations.
  • UNSC reform is not only about expansion, which is just one area, but also encompasses other issues of veto and improvement in working methods.

About United Nations Security Council:

  • It involves 15 members in which five are permanent members, US, UK, France, Russian federation and China. The remaining 10 are temporary members hold their seats based on region for two years.
  • Presently the countries like Brazil, India, Germany, and Japan are demanding for permanent status to the Council.
  • Recently, US wants India to be permanent member which opposed by China.
  • UK is not against any reform in the Security Council.

Need for India’s permanent membership:

  • Second largest population, third largest economy in PPP terms, leading IT power, civilization legacy, cultural diversity and largest troop contributor UN Peace Keeping operations.
  • Moral dimensions and image of peace loving nation which produced the likes Buddha and Gandhi.
  • Biggest democracy in the world and in the current geo-politics our contribution and influence cannot be ignored.
  • India has always been of the countries at the forefront of providing peacekeepers and their peacekeeping forces are often considered best.
  • South Asia being victim of repercussions rimes like terrorism, war, extremism India gains more say on its and neighbor problems.

Expected impact of India’ permanent member:

  • India will to stay in the matter of war and peace.
  • Effectively UNSC move towards a democratic set up where nations like India can put up their more strongly,
  • India can represent or lead more countries to stop western forces for promoting their vested interests.
  • If India becomes UNSC permanent member it can shift focus on developing nation’s interest.
  • With India getting veto power, it will dilute China’s elite status in Asia.
  • It will help India to put its interest in better way.
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