• The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.
    • Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions; it is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.
    • The Security Council consists of fifteen members. Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, and the United States—serve as the body’s five permanent members. These permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General.
    • The Security Council also has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms. The body’s presidency rotates monthly among its members.
Why India should be added?
    • After 2008 financial meltdown, India had been a member of G 20 to help the world tide over a difficult situation
    • IAEA and NSG considers India as ‘a state with advanced nuclear technology’ and sanctified India as a responsible member of the nuclear community
    • However, India needs to dispel popular perception the India feels comfortable in its role as ‘a recessed power’
    • IS in – parts of West Asia, Yemen, areas around Caspian sea, pockets in Central Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan – India has long history of Islamic scholarship, which can be used to counter IS by ‘soft powerinstead of bullets and bombs.
    • Refugee crisis – India can showcase its inherent strengths, derived from ancient civilizational traditions. During Bangladesh refugee crisis India had shown both capability and remarkable resilience and India’s experience would  prove useful for countries in Europe.
Apart from the relevance of size, ancient wisdom, culture and current economic strength, India’s role as a vital 21st century problem solver cannot but add weight to its claims to membership of the Security Council.
UNGA adopted a resolution to  use a text as the basis for discussions on UNSC reforms.
This also indicates that most countries in the General Assembly support a restructuring of the UNSC. Meaningful reform of the Security Council is overdue. The institution, formed to meet the challenges of the post-War world, has struggled to cope with the dynamics of the post-Soviet Union world order. In the past quarter century, the global order has seen massive changes, from American unilateralism to the rise of multilateral institutions such as BRICS. The developing nations, including India, now play a larger role in both the international economy and politics. But these changes are not reflected in the UN, where all critical decisions are still being taken by the veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council.
Besides, the geopolitical rivalry among the permanent members has prevented the UNSC from coming up with effective mechanisms to deal with global crises. Syria is a case in point. Even as a humanitarian tragedy is unfolding in Syria, there is no consensus in the Security Council on how to tackle it. Even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon admitted recently that the UNSC had failed Syria.
If the UN still shies away from reforming the Security Council, the possibility of the institution being side-lined by emerging powers cannot be ruled out. The resolution adopted in the General Assembly offers a chance to break the logjam.
But the road ahead is not easy. Three powerful members of the UNSC — Russia, China, and the U.S. — are opposed to any major restructuring of the Council. While Russia and the U.S. have said they would support India’s UNSC bid, when it comes to proceedings at the UN their positions represent a far cry from the promises they make at bilateral meetings. The U.S. favours only a “modest expansion” of the UNSC, while Russia doesn’t want any change in the veto arrangement. Even if the General Assembly members reach a consensus on reform, it could be shot down by the permanent members. The permanent members should realise that a more democratic and representative Security Council would be better-equipped to address global challenges, and that there are more pressing issues to be tackled at the global level than merely preserving their prerogatives. The champions of reforms — India, Japan, Germany and Brazil, or the G4 — should continue their multilateral diplomacy to build a democratically evolved global consensus on restructuring the UNSC.
How effective has been United Nations Security Council in addressing some of pressing security challenges faced by raising extremism across the world? In the light of its mandate, critically comment. (200 Words)
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is the most powerful body in the United Nations, with primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It has five powerful countries (US, UK, France, Russia, and China) as permanent members along with 10 non-permanent members. Despite UN has been largely successful in ending various conflicts, it is unable to address many challenges faced by raising extremism across the world.
    1. UNSC failed to enforce its resolution on Iraq, for cooperation and transparency regarding various weapons. That led to the US invasion on Iraq in the name of weapons of Mass Destruction.
    2. In 2003, Sudan erupted into conflict as various extremist groups criticized and attacked the government for oppressing the non-Arab. After three years, UN could dispatch its soldiers in a limited manner. By 2010, an estimated 300,000 Sudanese civilian were killed.
    3. In 2012, China and Russia used their veto power and the UNSC could not intervene in Syria. Since the Syrian civil war began, an estimated 60,000 civilians have been killed.
    4. UNSC is also unable to bring any resolution condemning Israel‘s action against Palestine, following US’s veto power.
    5. UNSC do not have any concrete plan to deal with tensions in East Jerusalem as well as the activities of radicalized and extremist groups in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine etc.
Although UNSC can be credited for its peace-keeping missions in Haiti, Congo, etc. The big issues of world peace – terrorism, extremism, nuclear proliferation can‘t be entrusted upon a body which is more often paralytic than effective.
Unilateral action by Saudi Arabia, USA and France in recent past has undermined UNSC relevance.
Russia’s intervention in Crimea and Georgia could not be stopped by UNSC as negotiations failed due to hard stands of opposing sides.
Discuss the roadblocks India is facing in its quest for permanent membership of the UN Security Council. Do you think permanent membership is a necessity for India? Critically comment. (200 Words)
UN security council consists of two types of members: Permanent and temporary. The five permanent members: US, UK, Russia, China and France enjoy veto power. This provision has been widely criticized by different nations. Also there is voice for increasing African, South American and Asian representation in UNSC.
India has been a temporary member many times. It wants to secure permanent membership in UNSC for its growing importance in world affairs. But the Indian journey to UNSC Permanent membership seems very difficult. Following are the major roadblocks:
    1. P5 Resistance: Permanent members never get to a consensus to allow expansion of council and offer permanent seat to another country. China being India’s rival will always veto down any such agreement for India. Thus this remains the biggest roadblock.
    2. India’s economic contribution: Compared to P5 Countries India’s contribution to Security council budget is very minimal, which again discredits its claim to join council as a permanent group.
    3. International diplomacy: India is seen as a soft country, especially on matters related to middle east and gulf countries. It maintains neutrality and puts its own interest before taking a hard stance. This is misinterpreted by P5 countries as India’s inability to offer and sanction extreme measures. Especially US is not comfortable with this behaviour.
    4. India’s closeness with Japan will also be a major reason for China’s objection.
    5. The structure of UNSC is very complex. For India to be a permanent members, it needs the nod off 2/3rd of the general members with the support of P5 which requires an amendment to the UN charter act
    6. With superpowers like Germany and Japan already in queue, India’s admission is a farfetched dream.
Permanent membership is critical for India for following reasons:
    1. To improve India’s global stature
    2. To help India reach at comparable level with its rival China
    3. To secure its neighbourhood from future combined interventions, if any
    4. To bring equality of treatment and be the natural leader of developing countries in security council.
Why such move would not bring any great change: Unlikely that India would get veto power. At most Veto power might be diluted or gradually done away with. The latter seems impossible though given the stiff resistance of P5 countries. Hence it will be a waste of effort if no veto is given.
India needs to be a permanent member as it has 1/6th of world’s population, largest democracy,7th largest economy and one of the largest contributor to peace-keeping troops, leader of developing countries and has a better say in global platform and deserves a strong position too.
India needs support of 129/193 members of UNGA for a seat in UNSC. It is as obvious that Pakistan will raise Kashmir issue and China may veto against the resolution. But India should not lose hope about UNSC reforms it demanded from so long. It will be India’s foreign policy test as how much support it gains and become successful to break the dominance of P-5 in UNSC and secure its position in the most powerful body of the world.



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