QUESTION : Role of the UN ensuring intern ethics and major challenges India may face as a non-permanent member of the UNSC”. Discuss.
INDIA’S UN JOURNEY FROM OUTLIER TO THE HIGH TABLE
India’s Presence At The UN
WHY IN NEWS ?
India’s journey at the UN as it enters it 75year. It also analyses the challenges India faced at the UN and tracks India’s transformation from being an outlier to the high table.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND :
- United Nations Day is celebrated on 24 October each year.
- On June 26, 1945, India became one of the first 50 countries to sign the UN charter.
- The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the UN Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and by a majority of other signatories.
- India joined the United Nations after ratifying the UN Charter on October 30, 1945.
3 PHASES AT UN –
1st : FROM INDEPENDENCE TO 1989 :
- The first phase lasted until the end of Cold War in 1989.
- During this phase, India had learnt to explore and enhance its diplomatic influence in easing armed conflicts in Asia and Africa by disentangling them from the superpower rivalry.
- India also leaned that the UN could not be relied upon to impartially resolve vital security disputes such as Jammu and Kashmir.
- India strove to utilise the UN only to focus on common causes such as anti-colonialism, anti-racism, nuclear disarmament, environment conservation and equitable economic development.
- India seemed to claim the moral high ground by proposing, in 1988 three-phase plan to eliminate nuclear weapons from the surface of earth.
- But it resisted attempts by neighbouring countries to raise bilateral problems.
- Defeat in 1962 war against China meant a definitive redesign of the country’s diplomatic style to privilege bilateral contacts over the third party role by the UN.
- The 1990s were the most difficult decade for India in the UN.
- The 1990s were marked by the sudden end of the Cold War, the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the United States as the unrivalled power.
- Besides, the uncertain political climate along with the balance of payments crisis constrained the country’s capability to be active in various bodies, especially in the Security Council (UNSC) and the General Assembly.
- There was a change in India’s foreign policy: At the UN as India showed pragmatism in enabling the toughest terms on Iraq even after Gulf War or in reversing position on Zionism as racism.
- At the same time call for an end to aerial attacks on Yugoslavia did not garner much support in the UNSC.
- India’s diplomatic difficulties was exposed when it suffered a defeat in the hands of Japan in the 1996 contest for a non-permanent seat in the UNSC.
- India resolutely stood against indefinite extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1995.
- India strongly rejected the backdoor introduction for adoption of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996.
- It is against this background that India surprised the world in 1998 with its Pokhran nuclear weapon tests, ignoring the likely adverse reaction from the nuclear club.
3rd : RISE IN INFLUENCE IN 21ST CENTURY :
- The impressive economic performance in the first decade of the 21st century due to economic liberalisation and globalisation policies, helped a great deal in strengthening profile.
- This is only aided by its reliable and substantial troop contributions to several peacekeeping operations in African conflict theatres.
- India has emerged as a responsible stakeholder in non-traditional security issue areas such as the spread of small and light weapons, the threat of non-state actors acquiring weapons of mass destruction, and the impact of climate change.
- India has scaled up its contributions to development and humanitarian agencies, while India’s share to the UN assessed budget has registered a hike from 0.34% to 0.83%.
- India’s successful electoral contests for various prestigious slots in the UNSC, the Human Rights Council, the World Court, and functional commissions of the Economic and Social Council indicates its growing popularity
CHALLENGES FOR INDIA AT UN :
- Security Council expansion
o India has long sought a permanent seat at the Council.
- The draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism: India proposed the draft but it encountered reservations from among Islamic and other countries on provisions regarding definition of terrorist and the convention’s application to state armed forces.
- Volatile global situation
o The Trump administration’s disdain towards multilateral institutions,
o The changing U.S.-China equation,
o China’s growing political isolation on account of the spread of the novel coronavirus, and
o China’s aggressive territorial forays in eastern Ladakh and the South China Sea,
o An unabated economic slowdown
PRIORITIES AT THE UNSC AS A NON-PERMANENT MEMBER :
- India’s future role will depend on its ability to deal economic slowdown and a troubled relationship with China.
- This is pertinent as India will soon begin its two-year term as a non-permanent UNSC member (January 1, 2021).
- Its areas of priority will continue to be the upholding of Charter principles, act against those who support, finance and sponsor terrorists, besides striving for securing due say to the troop contributing countries in the management of peace operations.
- It is reasonable to assume (based on earlier patterns) that India will work for and join in consensus on key questions wherever possible.
- But it may opt to abstain along with other members including one or two permanent members.
As a non-permanent UNSC member now, India needs to uphold the Charter principles in the backdrop of a turbulent world.