Way forward for India at UNSC

Synopsis: As India assumes UNSC membership for the 8th time as one of the 10 non-permanent members, it should integrate UNSC functions with national objectives while adjusting to changed realities. 


Dynamics at UNSC have changed completely since the cold war, while India’s attitude has changed from the reactive to the proactive. 

India needs to align its goals of national objectives at UNSC with the present dynamics at UNSC to achieve maximum gain. 

  • India’s new term should be led by purposeful and pragmatism.
      • Purposefulness is about tightly incorporating UNSC meeting with India’s broader national goals.  
      • Pragmatism requires adapting to the changed conditions at the UNSC and avoiding overly ambitious goals. 

How UNSC and India evolved post-cold war? 

  • During 1991-92, India’s term at UNSC was influenced by collapse of the Soviet Union. 
  • Delhi was fixing its broken economy and was reorganising its foreign policy to survive in the post-Soviet world.
      • Countries Like EU and Us wanted to transform this “inter-national” forum into a “supra-national” institution, to interfere actively in the matter of countries.  
      • India had to resist external solutions to its problems on issues like the Kashmir question and the nuclear.
      • Thus, India was not vocal and adopted a defensive approach at that time.
  • In 2011-12, revived Russia and a rising China began influencing UNSC to resist west.  
  • India witnessed rapid economic growth in the first decade of 21st century which resulted in improvement of its own relative position in the meeting. 
      • Delhi was less defensive than in the 1990s, but was struggling to change its new strengths into practical outcomes.
  • At present UNSC term of India, it is facing the challenge of sharp competition between US, China and Russia. Which is enforced by closeness of Russia-China and disagreement between US and EU.   

What objectives India would be taking along at the UNSC? 

To make its present term fruitful, India needs to work towards 5 objectives; 

  • Firstlymaking the UNSC effective. Except brief moment of cooperation in 1990s, UNSC is dealing with the divisions among 5 permanent members, making it less effective.  
      • India needs to carve out the larger room for itself and try to create an atmosphere of cooperation as done by US and USSR on nuclear proliferation.  
  • Secondlymaking the UNSC more representative. India wanted permanent membership since the end of the Cold War but China does not want India and Japan to join the UNSC as permanent members. 
      • However, India should push its efforts in partnership with Brazil, Germany and Japan, to expand the UNSC.  
  • Thirdly, India has to deal with China’s growing enmity. On the issue of cross-border terrorism china continues to protect Pakistan from the international pressures and also tried to get the UNSC to focus on India’s constitutional changes in Kashmir. 
      • India should try to get the wind in its favour by presenting real facts  
  • Fourthly, the engagement with peace and security issues at the UNSC. India will be able to strengthen its new coalitions. 
      • For example, the Quad which brings together Australia, India, Japan and the US.
      • Collaboration with its European partners like France and Germany in the security field. 
  • Fifthly, Delhi should renew its ties with its old partnersDelhi should express the peace and security concerns of the global south in UNSC. Supporting the rule and survivability of the island states is a critical political task for India. 
      • 60 per cent of UNSC documents and 70 per cent of its resolutions are about peace and security in Africa. There is an opportunity for Delhi to deepen India’s engagement on peace and security issues in Africa at bilateral, regional and global levels.
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