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In an uncertain world, a seat at the global high table

  • IASbaba
  • July 3, 2020
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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INTERNATIONAL/ SECURITY

Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate. 
  • Government policies and interventions for security

In an uncertain world, a seat at the global high table

Context: India will be back in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2021

By 2021, it is hoped that 

  • COVID-19 will have subsided
  • U.S. President will have been elected, 
  • The contours of a new world order may have emerged

About this year’s election to non-permanent seat

  • In the order of the number of votes received by each one, the countries elected were Mexico, India, Norway, Ireland and Kenya. 
  • Since there was no endorsement in the African Group, Kenya had to go for a second round against Djibouti. 
  • Kenya was the favourite of the West and Djibouti was supported by China and the Islamic states. 
  • In the Western European and Others Group, Canada lost to Ireland in a contentious contest.

What impact did COVID-19 have election process?

  • Ambassadors were allowed to enter the General Assembly Hall one by one to cast their ballots instead of the simultaneous voting 
  • The campaign was also unconventional — it took place through Zoom conversations and the sharing of brochures and pamphlets, rather than through personal meetings

How will India gain by getting elected to UNSC as non-permanent member?

  • Enhances hope for Permanent Seat: out of the 192 votes cast, India got 184 which has understandably ignited the hope that its quest for permanent membership of the Council may succeed
  • Access to High Diplomacy: India will also have access into the consultations chamber of the UNSC, which is closed to non-members of the Council. It is there that hard negotiations take place without any public record.
  • Push for India’s interest: Counter-terrorism will be one of the highest priorities for India at the UNSC.
  • Higher Profile: India will have a higher profile at the UN for the next two years as the non-permanent members have a collective veto over every resolution in the Council. 
  • Active Diplomacy: Permanent members can prevent adoption of resolutions by themselves, but they need at least nine votes to get a resolution passed, where India can play active lobbying role which might serve its interests 

Challenges for India

  • India’s performance in the Council may earn it respect, but it will not lead to its elevation to permanent membership as there is strong opposition to any expansion from permanent members
  • The pressure of work of Indian mission will also increase because India will get involved in many issues in which it may not have any direct interest.
  • Since India does not have a veto, it shall have to proceed cautiously not to offend anyone particularly the veto members so that they don’t retaliate when India’s interests come up

Connecting the dots:

  • Why League of Nations failed?
  • History of UN and criticism of its working

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