Temporary membership of UNSC in India

55 countries in the Asia-Pacific have unanimously supported India’s temporary membership in the United Nations Security Council-UNSC for a period of 2021-22. Surprisingly, both countries supported India’s membership despite India’s diplomatic challenges with China and Pakistan, in addition to other countries. India will now easily obtain temporary membership of the UNSC by securing the support of 2/3 members of the UN General Assembly consisting of a group of 193 countries. India has been a non-permanent member of UNSC for its first 7 times. Initially Afghanistan was a major competitor of India regarding this membership but due to friendship with India, Afghanistan distanced itself from the race. India will receive UNSC membership on the 75th anniversary of its Independence Day, as well as a G-20 meeting in New Delhi in the same year, which represents India as a rising superpower on the global stage.

As the provisional member of the United Nations Security Council for the year 2021-22, India’s sole aim should be to assist in the creation of a stable and secure world environment. By doing so, it will not only promote the safety and prosperity of its population but will also contribute to building regional and global security and compliance with a rule based world order. Thus, it can have a common partnership with both developing and developed countries.

Changing world landscape

India’s representation in the United Nations Security Council is decreasing. After a gap of 10 years, he has again got temporary membership in the Security Council. Earlier, he was inducted as a temporary member after a gap of 20 years in the year 2011-12. India’s total tenure in the Security Council has been only 14 years, which is only about a fifth of the total working period of the United Nations. This time India should take advantage of the opportunity it has gained to present itself as a responsible nation.


India is situated in the middle of the turbulent terrain of West and East Asia where there is a critical situation of extremism, terrorism, human and drug trafficking and rivalry between the big powers. If the disintegrating chaos is seen in West Asia, the Gulf region is the victim of upheaval. Although the world has succeeded in defeating the Islamic State (IS), the situation in Iraq and Syria does not appear to be the same as in the pre-conflict. IS survivors and dispersed combatants can spread terror in new territories, and especially remain a threat to their home countries. Similar echoes of the unrest in West Asia can be heard in North and South Asia, where threats from North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests and Haqqani networks in neighboring areas of Afghanistan, support, cooperation and shelter from groups such as the Taliban and al-Qaeda The situation remains. Along with this, many problems exist between various countries of Asia in the form of strategic distrust and suspicion, disputes over borders and territories, lack of an all-Asia security infrastructure and competition for energy and strategic minerals.

The beneficial and supportive international system that emerged after the Cold War has almost completely disappeared. At the beginning of this century, the concept of ‘national interest’ assumed an almost subversive meaning, but in the present times countries are seen returning to national interest again. Fear, populism, mobilization and ultra-nationalism have emerged as the mainstay of politics in many countries. Not surprisingly, five years ago Henry Kissinger (American diplomat) concluded in his new book ‘World Order’ that this is the chronology of the most global anarchy since World War II.

united nations security
united nations security

Yet the world is in a better state than when the United Nations was established. The global scenario, with or without the cooperation of the United Nations, has been positive in terms of the establishment of international peace and security (which is the main objective of the UN Security Council). The world has been distracted by its other common goals, especially in terms of international social and economic cooperation. Although it is difficult to establish coordination among the 193 sovereign countries of the world, it must be done for this. For this, special consideration should be given to the permanent members of the Security Council (P-5) and other members in the order of efforts to improve the council.

The report titled ‘World in 2050’ by PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) predicts that by 2050 China will become the world’s top economic power and India will be in second place. China will get this place when it is able to avoid getting stuck in the Middle Income Trap. India’s success will depend on the fact that it has a better sustainable economic performance than in recent years. The problem at present is that the above challenges are not being taken into consideration by the world powers and other countries.

India’s goal

India does not need to waste its time on diplomatic goodwill for non-permanent permanent membership in the Security Council. He will not get this membership by self-promotion but only by invitation. India will have to increase its financial contribution as India’s contribution is very low compared to the five permanent members. Even Japan and Germany contribute many times more than India. Although India has been a major country in the supply of peacekeepers, its total contribution to UN peacekeeping operations has been modest.

united nations security council
united nations security council

At a time when there is a lack of an international leadership on global issues such as security, refugee problem, poverty and climate change, India has an opportunity to promote balanced, shared solutions.

With its temporary new membership, India should first show the way to the Security Council to stay away from the dangers of humanitarian intervention or the implementation of the principle of ‘accountability for security’. On the one hand, this approach of the Security Council has led to chaotic results, on the other hand there are also undemocratic and autocratic countries in the world where this criterion can never be applied. Since the international system is of a delicate and complex nature that can be even more unpredictable and dangerous, India must work towards compliance with a rule-based world order. Promoting sustainable development and welfare of people can become its new motivational elements.

Second, India should pressurize the Security Council’s sanctions committee to target all individuals and bodies that need to be banned. Multilateral action by the Security Council has been sluggish due to narrow national interests. According to Council resolutions 1267, 1989 and 2253, as of May 21, 2019, 260 individuals and 84 bodies were under consideration for UN sanctions. The US Finance Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) maintains a much larger list of individuals and bodies that are under US sanctions. Similarly, the European Union has its own sanctions list.

united nations
united nations

Third, for good relations with all major powers, India should set an example by following inclusion, rule of law, constitutionalism and rational internationalism.

India should once again adopt a consensus to move forward, rather than remain external in these matters which is also becoming the trend of India in the near past. A harmonious response is an essential condition for dealing with global problems related to climate change, disarmament, terrorism, trade and development. India should accept a greater role for expansion of global public welfare and creation of new regional public welfare. For example, India should take the initiative to activate the Military Staff Committee of the Security Council, which has never been implemented since the United Nations came into existence. In the absence of this, the role of the Security Council in collective security and conflict resolution will remain limited.

The conclusion

A rules-based international system will create opportunities for India rather than hindrance, and adherence to multilateral ethics will be the best way forward for India. India’s future is bright and it is expected to become a superpower at the economic and strategic level, but the problems related to social welfare cannot be turned away. India is a great nation but still far from becoming a great power. Non-polarity, one polarity or bipolarity – neither of which is favorable to India. India should imbibe Polycentrism, which is a balancing position on the major powers that intend to establish their sphere of influence. India cannot move more confidently on the world stage when it does not have stable relations with its neighbors. Along with meeting its goals in the United Nations and the Security Council, India needs to enhance its role in its larger neighborhood of South Asia. Good relations with neighbors are essential for regional stability as well as for India’s internal security.

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