PRIME Minister Narendra Modi has yet again stressed on India’s claim to have a permanent status on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). “How can it claim to speak for the world when its most populous country, and its largest democracy, is not a permanent member?” he said before embarking upon his recent visit to France.
As the PM pointed out in an interview with a foreign media, the UNSC’s ‘skewed membership’ leads to opaque decision-making processes, which adds to its helplessness in addressing the challenges. (Excerpts of the interview on Page 9) PM Modi’s statement evoked fullthroated support from United Nations General Assembly President Csaba Korosi. “There is a notion among the member states that we need a better representative in the UNSC, including India, which has displayed a larger responsibility for world peace and sustainable development,” he said.
The UNSC consists of 15 members, five of which are permanent with powers to veto any decision. The remaining ten are elected by the UN General Assembly for a two-year term.
India has contributed the most to UN peacekeeping missions and it has been a non-permanent member on several occasions, the latest being in 2021-2022. However, despite universal acknowledgment of its role in implementing the UN mandate and contributing the most to its peacekeeping missions, it has been denied its place as a permanent member of the UNSC.
Of the five permanent UNSC members, the US, the UK, France and Russia have all repeatedly expressed support for India’s longstanding bid to win a permanent seat at the table. However, China, using its veto power, has always blocked it.
India has an irrefutable case for a place in the UNSC high table. It is the world’s largest democracy and represents 17 per cent of the world population. Also, due to its geopolitical advantage, it acts as a bridge between Central Asia and the Middle East. It also plays a dominating role in the Indian Ocean, which is the hub for over 80 per cent of the world’s trade.
India also hosts one of the largest militaries in the world that has served in five major wars and is one of the few nuclear-armed States in the world. Given all these factors, and even according to the UNSC standards of ‘not leaving out a big power’, India qualifies to be among the veto-power countries.