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India’s Non – Permanent Seat at UNSC for 2021-2022

  • Category
    India & world
  • Published
    8th Jul, 2019

India’s candidature for the UN Security Council’s Non-Permanent seat was endorsed by the 55-member Asia-Pacific Group recently.

Context

India’s candidature for the UN Security Council’s Non-Permanent seat was endorsed by the 55-member Asia-Pacific Group recently.

About

  • In its quest for global peace and security, India has played a leadership role in the United Nations General Assembly and in the Security Council. India has been a non-permanent Member of the UN Security Council seven times since 1950-51.
  • Due to some important reasons, India decided to pursue its candidature for 2021-22, else, by rotation, that seat would have reached India only in the 2030s.

Reasons

  • Unique Role Played by India: In the present scenario, there is near-complete polarisation among the permanent members, with the U.S., the U.K. and France on one side, and Russia and China on the other. India’s ability to work with both sides holds crucial importance for the functioning of UNSC.
  • Sentimental Value: The year 2022, marks 75th year of Indian Independence and a place in UNSC would add to the planned celebrations.
  • Strategic Concerns: India has faced many trade and security challenges from China, US and Pakistan recently. India would be able to voice its concerns and seek for its redressal by the international community. Moreover, India will be hosting the G-20 meeting in New Delhi in 2022.

United Nations Security Council

  • The Security Council is one of the six main organs of the United Nations. Its primary responsibility is the maintenance of international peace and security. 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.
  • It has 15 Members (5 as Permanent Members and 10 as Non- Permanent Members), and each Member has one vote.
  • Five permanent members: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Each of the Permanent Members has Veto Power over every decision of UNSC.
  • The Permanent Residence of UNSC in the UN Headquarters New York City, USA.
  • The presidency of the Council rotates monthly, going alphabetically among member states.

How are non-permanent members elected?

  • Each year the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members (out of 10 in total) for a two-year term. The 10 non-permanent seats are distributed on a regional basis as follows: five for African and Asian States; one for Eastern European States; two for the Latin American and Caribbean States; and two for Western European and other States.

Powers of Non – Permanent Members of UNSC

  • A Security Council decision does not receive support if at least seven non-permanent members of the Security Council vote against its adoption, regardless of the support of all states – permanent members.
  • A non-permanent member can influence the work of the Security Council through the monthly presidency of the Council. The chair of the Security Council has influence on shaping the monthly programme of the Council. It is also granted a number of powers of an organizational nature.
  • The non-permanent members can play an important role in matters concerning their respective geographic regions and thematic issues.
  • The importance of non-permanent members is also increased during serious political crises, during which permanent members do not represent a unanimous position but where the differences between them are not deep enough to completely paralyze the work of the Council.
  • Incorporating the most important issues during informal meetings gives non-permanent members a chance to protect their interests and place issues that are important to them within the content of negotiated documents.
  • In recent years, non-permanent members have not only played a significant role in the process of negotiating the content of documents, they have also started to present their own proposals for solutions.

Significance

  • The development is particularly significant given that Pakistan and China, both countries with which India has had diplomatic challenges at the UN. In the next step, India will need the vote of two-thirds of the 193 UN General Assembly members to finally win a non-permanent seat on the UNSC.

India’s Quest for Permanent Seat at UNSC

Permanent membership of the Security Council is an important and legitimate aspiration for India in order to play its rightful role in the maintenance of international peace and security. This can be substantiated through the following points:

  • India was one of the first countries to raise the issue of apartheid in South Africa at the United Nations and was one of the earliest signatories to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 1965
  • India’s nuclear doctrine at the United Nations is in consonance with its commitment to achieve global disarmament and maintain international peace and security. India is the only nuclear weapons state to demand total elimination of nuclear weapons.
  • India's international identity has long been shaped by its role in U.N. peacekeeping, with more than 100,000 Indian troops having served in U.N. missions during the past 50 years.
  • India has an independent capability to place satellites in orbit, including production of the necessary launch vehicle
  • India's bid for permanent membership of UNSC is backed by 4 Permanent Members, namely France, Russia, the United Kingdom and United States.
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