United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of United Nations created following World War II. The body was given the responsibility of ensuring international peace and security. It pursues its objectives through the powers vested in the council which include establishing of peacekeeping operations and imposing international sanctions. It is the only body of the United Nations with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.
The council consists of 15 members; five permanent members and ten non-permanent members which are elected on a regional basis to serve a term of two years. The five permanent members, also known as Permanent Five, Big Five or P5 include United States of America, China, United Kingdom, Russia and France. The main difference which separates the big five from the rest is that all the permanent members have ‘Veto’ power.
The “power of veto” refers to the veto power wielded solely by the permanent members, enabling them to prevent the adoption of any “substantive” draft Council resolution, regardless of the level of international support for the draft. The veto is exercised when any permanent member—the so-called “P5″—casts a “negative” vote on a “substantive” draft resolution.
There have been proposals suggesting expansion of the UNSC permanent seats to include new permanent members. India, Germany, Japan and Brazil are the forerunners for a permanent seat on UNSC.
India’s case for permanent seat of United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
India has emerged as one of the top 5 economies in the world. It is a nuclear power state with advance space war capabilities as displayed recently by testing a A-Sat weapon. Also, India is the largest contributor to the UN Peacekeeping Operations (UNPKO), with nearly 180,000 troops serving in 44 missions since it was established. India is also among the highest financial contributors to the UN, with the country making regular donations to several UN organs like the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF).
Also, India believes that the current structure of UNSC which was constituted in 1945 after the World War II does not reflect today’s geopolitical realities of multi-polar world. India’s claim for the permanent seat is supported by 129 countries including 4 out of 5 permanent members of UNSC. China is the only country in big five which is ambiguous about its support India’s bid for permanent seat in UNSC. Ironically, China got the permanent seat on UNSC because of India when Indian Prime Minister refused the permanent seat it was offered in 1950s in favour of China.
What does India get by becoming a permanent member of UNSC?
India would want a permanent membership at UNSC for two reasons. First, the ‘Veto’ Power, which India could use to defend its interests, say against Pakistan (just like Russia did last year over the civil war in Ukraine). Second, the sheer prestige associated with permanent membership of a multilateral forum. India’s elevation will also be an acknowledgment of its rise as a global power, ready to play a key role in the council’s objectives of international peace and security.