India as Non-Permanent Member of UNSC | 18 Jul 2019

This article is based on editorial “At the UNSC, a three-point agenda” that appeared in The Hindu on 17 July 2019. It talks about India’s role as non permanent member of UNSC for establishing global order.

India has won the unanimous support of all countries in the 55-member Asia-Pacific Group for its bid for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council (UNSC) for a two-year term in 2021-22. India's inclusion as a non-permanent seat on the UNSC for eighth time should help build a stable and secure world order that recently has been in a turmoil.

What is the status of the current world order?

Henry Kissinger in his latest work, World Order, held that the world is in a greater state of disorder than at any time since the end of World War II.

  • In the middle of chaos in both West and East Asia, India finds itself sandwiched in this troubled region.
  • Both the regions are suffering from insurgencies, terrorism, human and narcotics trafficking, and great power rivalries.
    • West Asia: US vs Iran, Israel vs Palestine, Syrian civil war, Resurgence of Taliban in Afghanistan and US withdrawal of forces, surviving and dispersed ISIS poses a bigger threat.
    • East Asia: US-China Trade war, the nuclear and missile tests by North Korea.
    • In South Asia itself, there lies strategic mistrust or misperception, unresolved borders and territorial disputes: India and China, India-Pakistan.
  • The values on which Liberal world order was based, free trade and globalisation, are being crushed by the western world: Anti-globalisation wave (America first policy, Brexit). Due to this fear, populism, polarization, and ultra-nationalism have become the basis of international world order today.
  • In this context, India's inclusion into UNSC as non- permanent member will promote its prosperity, regional and global security and growth, and rule-based world order. It could emerge as a partner of choice for developing and developed countries alike.

India and UNSC

  • India has already held a non-permanent seat at the UNSC for seven terms: 1950-1951, 1967-1968, 1972-1973, 1977-1978, 1984-1985, 1991-1992 and 2011-2012.
  • India needs vote of two-thirds of the 193 UN General Assembly members to win a non-permanent seat on the UNSC.
  • It is to re-enter the Council after a gap of 10 years.
  • India is one of the founding members of UNSC.

India as the Non Permanent Member of UNSC

  • Financial Contribution: India will have to increase its financial contribution in United Nation Security Council, as its share of United Nation’s expenses are lower than many of the P-5 (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) countries.
    • Even Germany and Japan’s contribution is many times more than India.
    • Although India has been a leading provider of peacekeepers, its financial contribution to United Nation peacekeeping operations is abysmally low.
  • International Leadership: In the absence of international leadership on global issues, like security, migrant movement, poverty, and climate change, India has an opportunity to promote well-balanced, common solutions.
  • Global Order: Fragile and complex international system in terms of nativism, protectionism, insurgencies and mass migration can become even more unpredictable and conflictual in future so India should work towards a rule based global order that can promote the sustainable development and ensure the welfare of people instead of inclining towards the council’s principles of humanitarian interventionism or ‘responsibility to protect’ that promotes aggression and conflict like situation.
  • Consensus Builder: India should act as a consensus builder and must lead the decisions and policies at council by having good relations with all the great powers, and by pursuing the principles of inclusion, the rule of law, constitutionalism, and rational internationalism at UNSC.
    • As harmonised and collective response at UNSC could help in dealing with global problems of climate change, disarmament, terrorism, trade, and development.
    • For instance India should take the lead in activating the UNSC’s Military Staff Committee (which was never set into motion following the UN’s inception) without which UNSC’s collective security and conflict-resolution roles will continue to remain limited.

Finally, India cannot achieve the positive development at global stage with confidence in the absence of stable relations with its neighbours. Besides India’s empowered position at international organizations like the UNSC, it must also play its crucial and democratic role in South Asia and its neighborhood. In order to become a great power, India must have a strong motive to embrace polycentrism.

Drishti input:

At Asia-Pacific Group India has won its bid for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council (UNSC) for a two-year term in 2021-22. Discuss India’s role as UNSC non-permanent member for achieving the global order and stability.