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India’s Non-permanent Seat at the UNSC

  • 27 Jun 2019
  • 4 min read

All the countries in the Asia-Pacific Group at the United Nations have unanimously supported India for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council (UNSC) for a two-year term in 2021-22.

  • Both Pakistan and China have supported India’s candidature.
  • The Asia-Pacific Group consists of 55 members states, they get to nominate one of its members for the June 2020 elections to a non-permanent seat on the UNSC.
  • India has been a non-permanent member of the UNSC seven times, the most recent was for the year 2011-12.
  • Estonia, Niger, Tunisia, Vietnam and St. Vincent and the Grenadines were elected earlier this month.
  • India has been contending for permanent membership at the UNSC from many years and has been a part of G-4 grouping which is continuously lobbying for UNSC reforms.

United Nation Security Council

  • The United Nations Charter established six main organs of the United Nations, including the Security Council.
    • It gives primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security to the Security Council, which may meet whenever peace is threatened.
  • All members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council.
    • While other organs of the United Nations make recommendations to member states, only the Security Council has the power to make decisions that member states are then obligated to implement under the Charter.

Permanent and Non-Permanent Members

  • The Council is composed of 15 Members:
    • Five permanent members: China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
    • Ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly (with the end of term year):
      • Belgium (2020), Côte d’Ivoire (2019), Dominican Republic (2020), Equatorial Guinea (2019), Germany (2020), Indonesia (2020), Kuwait (2019), Peru (2019), Poland (2019), South Africa (2020).

Selection of non-permanent members of the Security Council

  • Each year, the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members (out of ten in total) for a two-year term. The ten non-permanent seats are distributed on a regional basis:
    • five for African and Asian countries;
    • one for Eastern European countries;
    • two for Latin American and Caribbean countries;
    • two for Western European and other countries.
  • Aspiring member needs the vote of two-thirds of the 193 UN General Assembly members to win a non-permanent seat on the UNSC.
  • Article 23 of the UN Charter concerns the composition of the Security Council.

United Nations Regional Groups

  • The Regional Groups are the geopolitical regional groups of member states of the United Nations. UN member states were unofficially grouped into five geopolitical regional groups.
  • Many UN bodies are allocated on the basis of geographical representation. Top leadership positions, including Secretary-General and President of the General Assembly, are rotated among the regional groups.
  • The groups also coordinate substantive policy and form common fronts for negotiations and bloc voting.
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