In the past, the Obama and Trump administrations had supported a permanent seat for India on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). However, the recent statements by the State Department under the new US President Joe Biden, reflects an ambiguous or half-hearted view on this issue.

Important points:

  • The US supports a reformed Security Council that is representative, that is effective, and that is relevant.
  • However, the US offers qualified support for building a consensus for enlargement of the UNSC – in terms of permanent and non-permanent members.
  • The US would not support an expansion of the veto, which is currently exercised by five permanent members (P-5): China, France, Russia, the UK and the US.
  • Also, the US’s Ambassador to the UN, had refrained from saying the US supported India and other members of the G4 (Japan, Germany and Brazil) for a permanent UNSC seat.
  • It cited the regional disagreements by the Uniting for Consensus (UFC) group – Pakistan, South Korea, Italy and Argentina – which opposes the G4 plan.

Need :

  • Barring two regions (North America and Europe), other regions are either underrepresented (like Asia) or not represented at all (Africa, Latin America and the Small Island developing states).
  • The veto power is used by P-5 countries to serve the strategic interest of themselves and their allies.
  • For example, the United States has casted a veto on Council resolutions 16 times, to support its ally Israel, concerning Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • Lack of Global Governance: There are no regulatory mechanisms for global commons like the Internet, Space, High Seas (beyond one’s EEZ-exclusive economic zone).
  • Also, there is no unanimity on how to deal with global issues like terrorism, climate change, cybersecurity and public health (as seen in the current pandemic).
  • Due to all these factors, the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that the Security Council must either reform or risk becoming increasingly irrelevant.


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