- External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, who concluded a week-long visit to the United Nations, said it would be premature to comment on the positions countries, including India, are taking on the issue of whether any permanent membership for India to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) came with veto power.
- The Minister was speaking to the Indian press at a briefing on Saturday afternoon.
- India has been campaigning hard, including this past week, for a permanent seat on the Council and currently all five permanent members (the P-5) of the world’s top security body have veto rights.
- While a number of countries have shown support for India’s membership, including the U.S. and Russia, the question remains open, if this comes with veto rights.
- At this stage the positions were not fixed and countries’ ideas would go into a “melting pot” before something emerges, the Minister said.
- “It’s incredible that after so many years, there’s actually no text. So how does the negotiation advance if there is no text and no progress and no stock-taking?” he said,
- Adding that India was advocating for text-based negotiations right now, to ensure that the intergovernmental negotiations (IGN) process — the principal framework via which UNSC reform is deliberated — was “serious”.
- The American and Russian UNGA addresses contained explicit references to the issue.
- President of the U.N. General Assembly CsabaKőrösi in his UNGA address last week, advocated for Security Council reform, saying it ought to reflect “21st century realities” and “more equally” represent the world’s population.
- The U.S. State Department’s spokesperson, Ned Price, however, had said last year that the U.S. was in favour of increasing the permanent and non-permanent seats on the 15-member body, but was not in favour of expanding or altering the veto.
- This, however, was before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. Since then the veto right has been the subject of more intense scrutiny with Russia vetoing, multiple Security Council resolutions calling for an end to the invasion.
- India had cast an abstention vote in these cases.
- New Delhi has also found itself at the raw end of the veto, with China delaying the sanctioning of terrorists by the UNSC 1267 sanctions committee, including earlier this month, when it placed a hold on the proposal to add Lashkar-e-Taiba ‘commander’ Sajid Mir, wanted for the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, to the sanctions list
- The Security Council was established by the UN Charter in 1945. It is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations.
- The other 5 organs of the United Nations are—the General Assembly (UNGA), the Trusteeship Council, the Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat.
- Its primary responsibility is to work to maintain international peace and security.
- The council is headquartered at NewYork.
- The council has 15 members: the five permanent members and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms.
- The five permanent members are the United States, the Russian Federation, France, China and the United Kingdom.
- India, for the eighth time, has entered the UNSC as a non-permanent member last year (2021) and will stay on the council for two years i.e 2021-22.
- Each year, the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members (out of ten in total) for a two-year term. The ten non-permanent seats are distributed on a regional basis.
- The council’s presidency is a capacity that rotates every month among its 15 members.
- Each member of the Security Council has one vote. Decisions of the Security Council on matters are made by an affirmative vote of nine members including the concurring votes of the permanent members. A “No” vote from one of the five permanent members blocks the passage of the resolution.
- Any member of the United Nations which is not a member of the Security Council may participate, without vote, in the discussion of any question brought before the Security Council whenever the latter considers that the interests of that member are specially affected.
India in the UNSC:
- India took active part in the formulation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1947-48 and raised its voice passionately against racial discrimination in South Africa.
- India has played its part in formulating decisions on several issues such as admitting former colonies to the UN, addressing deadly conflicts in the Middle East and maintaining peace in Africa.
- It has contributed extensively to the UN, particularly for the maintenance of international peace and security.
- India has taken part in 43 Peacekeeping missions with a total contribution exceeding 160,000 troops and a significant number of police personnel.
- India’s population, territorial size, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), economic potential, civilisational legacy, cultural diversity, political system and past and ongoing contributions to UN activities make India’s demand for a permanent seat in the UNSC completely rational.
SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT