In News: Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s visit to the United States (September 18-28) has set the stage for an expansive range of bilateral and multilateral diplomacy by India. It is a unique visit as it seeks to achieve a vast list of objectives led by the Indian delegation’s participation in the High-Level Week at the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
- The theme of the 77th General Assembly, which seeks “A watershed moment: Transformative Solutions to Interlocking Challenges”, places India right in the midst as a strong partner of the U.N.
- India calls for a structural overhaul of UN-led multilateralism to incorporate institutional accountability and a wider representation of the developing countries.
- India searches for a new framework of global governance, amidst growing frustration with the extant multilateral order.
- It highlights needs of reforms in UNSC and the limitations of UN institutions and expresses concerns over Chinese dominance.
Need for reforms in UNSC:
- United Nations Security Council should reform itself to become a more inclusive organisation representing the contemporary realities of today.
- Countries of the global South, including India, stepped up through relief efforts, drug distribution and vaccine manufacturing, thus creating a space for a more inclusive UN.
- The growing stakes of developing countries in the Security Council could foster trust and leadership across the world.
- Recent global developments like the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the UN’s institutional limitations; when countries closed their borders, supply chains were interrupted and almost every country needed vaccines.
The U.N.’s fault lines in preventing wars:
- U.N.-led multilateralism has been unable to provide strong mechanisms to prevent wars.
- The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has loomed large over several deadlocks in U.N.S.C. resolutions – With the West boycotting Russia, the veto provision of the U.N.S.C. is expected to reach an even more redundant level than in the past.
- As such, a reformed multilateralism with greater representation could generate deeper regional stakes to prevent wars.
Concern over China’s dominance:
- China’s rise, belligerence, and aggression has been on display through its actions
- China has been stonewalling India’s bid for Permanent Seat In UNSC for years, pointing to the lack of consensus even though the other four permanent members, the US, the UK, France and Russia have expressed backing for New Delhi’s membership.
- China blocked a joint India-U.S. proposal at the U.N. to enlist Sajid Mir, a top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative involved in directing the 2008 Mumbai attacks, as a ‘global terrorist’.
- Control over multilateral organisations—unofficial pressure China exerted on the former U.N.’s human rights chief to stop the release of a report by the N. Human Rights Council on the condition of Uyghurs in China.
- Conflicts in South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific region
- China’s growing dominance could lead it to carve its own multilateral matrix circumventing the West, economically and strategically.
- The international isolation of Russia and Iran as well as increasing the United States’ Taiwan-related steps could usher in these changes more rapidly than expected.
India’s multilateral diplomacy:
- Mr. Jaishankar’s hosting of a ministerial meeting of the G4 (Brazil, India, Germany, and Japan)
- A high-level meeting of the Indian delegation with the L.69 Group, on “Reinvigorating Multilateralism and Achieving Comprehensive Reform of the U.N. Security Council”.
- India-CARICOM (Caribbean Community) and other trilateral formats, such as India-France-Australia, India-France-the United Arab Emirates and India-Indonesia-Australia.
- Participation in plurilateral meetings of the Quad (Australia, India, Japan, the U.S.), IBSA (India, Brazil, and South Africa), BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and Presidency Pro Tempore CELAC (Community of Latin American and the Caribbean States)
About The United Nations Security Council (UNSC):
- It is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations
- It is charged with ensuring international peace and security, recommending the admission of new UN members to the General Assembly, and approving any changes to the UN Charter. Its powers include establishing peacekeeping operations, enacting international sanctions, and authorizing military action.
- The UNSC is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions on member states.
- It was created after World War II in 1946 to address the failings of the League of Nations in maintaining world peace.
- The Security Council consists of fifteen members including India, of which five are permanent: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Permanent members can veto (block) any substantive Security Council resolution
Criticism of UNSC
- Unlike the General Assembly which truly represents the interests of all the member states, the Security Council represents the interest and domination of only the five permanent members which includes China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
- The veto power has been misused by the five permanent members – For passing any resolution, the approval of all the five permanent members is necessary and even if one of the members says no the resolution cannot be passed.
India and UN Security Council
- India was offered seat at UNSC in 1950. The 1955 offer was made by USSR to India for a permanent seat in the UN (at a time when the USSR and China’s alliance had reached a certain height).
- India has basically followed two strategies for the expansion of the Security Council. “The first focuses on a narrow major-power claim, which emphasizes India’s capabilities and contributions to the UNSC as the basis for permanent membership”.
- The second approach basically focuses on the “problem of representation in the UNSC” and makes the case for expanding both permanent and non-permanent categories of membership.
- India is also seen as a proliferating nuclear power. Analysts believe that this is the single most factor that is being a roadblock for India’s UNSC dreams
- UN could integrate burden-sharing practices within its institutional ambit.
- At a challenging time for the world order, New Delhi continues to affirm its commitment to “diplomacy and the need for international cooperation”
Source: Indian Express