Big jolt to India’s bid for a permanent UNSC seat

RSTV Bureau

unIn a big blow to India’s dream of a permanent seat in the reformed United Nations Security Council (UNSC), US, Russia and China have opposed negotiations to reform the UN body. All three countries have refused to contribute to a text that will form the basis for the reform process.

UN General Assembly President Sam Kutesa circulated a text to UN members that will form the basis for the negotiations on the reform of the Security Council. He also sent all UN members a letter, dated July 31, which had the names of all those member nations who did not wish their proposals to be included in the body of the negotiating text. And these countries include US, Russia and China.

America’s position on the matter is that it is “open in principle” to a “modest” expansion of both permanent and non-permanent members.”

But “any consideration of an expansion of permanent members must take into account the ability and willingness of countries to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the United Nations,” said Samantha Power, the American Ambassador to the UN in her reply to Kutesa’s letter. She also added that the US was opposed to “any alteration or expansion of the veto”.

Many believe that this stance of the US can be labelled as “duplicity” since President Barack Obama had reaffirmed his support for a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member.

Russia, which has also supported India’s candidacy as a permanent member in the past, said in its letter to Kutesa that the “prerogatives of the current Permanent Members of the Security Council, including the use of the veto, should remain intact under any variant of the Council reform”.

According to Russia, “the number of members in an enlarged UNSC should not exceed a reasonable level of low twenties.”

“The intergovernmental negotiations on the UN Security Council reform should proceed in a calm, transparent and inclusive atmosphere free from artificial deadlines,” said Russia’s letter.

On the matter on deadlines, India has maintained that the process to expand the UN must follow a results-based timeline to achieve a concrete outcome.

China, on the other hand, has said that the UN member states were still seriously divided on the UNSC reform and that no general agreement has been reached on any solution.

“No solution on which Member States are seriously divided or approach that may cause division among Member States will have China’s Support,” said China’s letter.

All US, Russia and China opposing the reform process, India will find it extremely difficult to meaningfully engage in the process.

India received support from France and UK, the other two permanent members of the Security Council. Kazakhstan and Romania also named India in the list of the countries to be included among the permanent members of a reformed UNSC. Brazil, Germany, Japan and an African representation is also part of that same list.

(With inputs from PTI)