Daily Hot Topic
Topic : Need for Reform in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
GS-2 Mains  : IR
Revision Notes


  • India argues that the UNSC’s structure needs an overhaul as the UN approaches its 80th anniversary in 2025.

Current Composition of the UNSC

  • The UNSC is a primary UN body responsible for maintaining global peace and security.
  • Established in 1945, it has 15 members:
    • Five permanent members (P5) with veto power: China, France, Russia, UK, and US.
    • Ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly.

Arguments for Reform

  • Under-representation: The current structure lacks representation for key regions of the world.
  • Inability to Address Conflicts: The current composition struggles to address critical conflicts and maintain international peace.
  • Outdated Structure: The global order has significantly changed since 1945, and the UNSC’s permanent membership needs to reflect this.
  • Veto Power: Only the P5 have veto power, which has stalled action on issues like the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza.
    • The ten non-permanent members lack veto power.
  • Legitimacy Concerns: The P5’s disproportionate power, especially the veto, raises concerns about fairness and legitimacy.

Why India Deserves Permanent Membership

  • Global Representation: India, the world’s second-most populous country (18% of global population), deserves a seat at the decision-making table.
  • Economic Powerhouse: India is a major global economic force (top economies by GDP).
  • Commitment to Peacekeeping: India is a leading contributor to UN peacekeeping missions.
  • Strategic Importance: India’s position in South Asia and the Indo-Pacific makes it crucial for addressing global security challenges.
  • Democratic Values: India’s democratic principles align with the UN’s core values.
  • Broad Support: India enjoys backing from many UN member states, recognizing its potential contribution to the UNSC.

Challenges to Reform

  • Veto Power of P5: Any UNSC reform needs approval from all P5 members, who have differing interests and resist changes that reduce their influence.
  • Regional Rivalries: Regional tensions complicate reform efforts.
  • Complex Reform Process: Amending the UN Charter for reform requires a lengthy and complex process, including ratification by a significant number of member states.
  • China’s Opposition: China, a P5 member, reportedly opposes India’s permanent membership bid.

The Way Forward

  • Both permanent and non-permanent UNSC membership should reflect the current global reality, not the post-WWII world order.
  • UNSC reform is crucial for maintaining its relevance, legitimacy, and effectiveness in addressing 21st-century security challenges.
  • Achieving consensus on reform remains a significant ongoing challenge.

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