Prospects of India for Permanent Seat in UNSC

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Published : Monday, 16 February, 2015 06:15 PM
 
 
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Prospects of India for Permanent Seat in UNSC
 
The six principal organizations of United Nations (UN) are the General Assembly (the main deliberative assembly); the Security Council (for deciding certain resolutions for peace and security); the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) (for promoting international economic and social co-operation and development); the Secretariat (for providing studies, information, and facilities needed by the UN); the International Court of Justice (the primary judicial organ); and the United Nations Trusteeship Council (inactive since 1994).

The Security Council is the most significant decision making body of the United Nations (UN) bestowed with the responsibility to maintain international peace and security. Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security. The Security Council also recommends the General Assembly for the appointment of the Secretary-General and the admission of new members to the United Nations. Security Council and General Assembly together elects the judges of International Court of Justice as well. These functions have made Security Council most important international body which can sanction the use of force. Because of this reason, almost all the member countries aspire for a seat in the council.

Security Council (SC) has 15 members out of which 5 are permanent while 10 are non-permanent members elected for two years by the members of General Assembly. The five permanent members of the SC also known as P-5 are The United States, Russia, The UK, France and China. The P-5 has a special power known as ‘veto’ power which other non-permanent members of the Security Council don’t have. By virtue of the veto power, they can overrule any resolution by the Security Council.
 


Since long, a demand has been rising from the various quarters where member countries are demanding to make the Security Council more democratic by expanding its membership. Since 1945, the UNSC has been reformed only once, in 1963, to expand the number of non-permanent non-veto empowered members from six to 10. This does not reflect even the most basic realities of a world in which the population has grown from 2.3 billion, when the UN was established, to over 7 billion now, and the number of UN member countries has almost quadrupled from 51 to 193.

Almost every country including P5 countries accepts the need of expanding the Security Council but they are yet to agree on the modalities of expansion. However, it is believed that any new member seeking permanent chair in Security Council should have following attributes –
 
 
  • If everyone is talking about making the United Nations more democratic, the new permanent member of Security Council should be a flourishing democracy.
  • New permanent member should bring the regional representation into the council. While the continent like Europe has three countries in SC, Latin America and Africa don’t have even a single member in it. Asia, the world’s largest continent by areas as well as population has only one country i.e. China in the SC.
  • All the current members of the SC are from developed world. Members from developing countries should also have representation at the SC.
  • Population wise also, exclusion of countries like India, Nigeria flout the democratic norms at the prestigious organization.
  • Any new member should be an active participant at the UN Peacekeeping operations. Country should have progressed scientifically and contributed to the development of other countries.
  • It should have the backing of some major players (France, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States) particularly from P-5 nations.       
 
It is unacceptable that India, with a population of 1.2 billion, a $2 trillion economy, the third largest country in terms of purchasing power parity, a nuclear weapons power with the third largest standing army in the world, and a major contributor to the UN’s peacekeeping missions, is not a member of the SC. In 2005, India formed a group with Japan, Germany and Brazil to push for the SC reforms but their efforts were blocked by the Coffee Club (Italy, Pakistan, and Mexico etc). The Germany candidature was opposed by Italy, India’s by Pakistan and Brazil’s candidature was opposed by Argentina.

Thus once again the reform plan was shelved as these countries were not able to garner enough support from the General Assembly. The Security Council reforms are pending since long and voices for urgent reforms erupt every now and then. Whenever, the reform process would be ushered, it is quite certain the candidature of India is strong enough to be ignored.
 
  
 
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