Prelims cum Mains

At the UNSC, a three-point agenda

Changing state of world

Troubles in Asia:

  • India finds itself in a troubled region between West and East Asia, a region full of insurgencies, terrorism, human and narcotics trafficking, and great power rivalries.
  • Other problems in Asia include strategic mistrust or misperception, unresolved borders and territorial disputes, the absence of a pan-Asia security architecture, and competition over energy and strategic minerals.

Inward looking west:

  • Alongside, the western world is consumed by protectionist instincts, and turning its back on the universal values it once espoused as western values.
  • The benign and supportive international system that followed the Cold War has all but disappeared.
  • Fear, populism, polarisation, and ultra-nationalism have become the basis of politics in many countries.

But world is better today than at the end of WWII:

  • Regardless of some troubling aspects, the world is in a better place today than when the UN was first established.
  • The record on maintaining international peace and security, one of the prime functions of the UNSC, has been positive, with or without the UN.

Image result for unsc reform

India at UNSC:

  • India is to re-enter the UN Security Council after a gap of 10 years.
  • The previous time, in 2011-12, followed a gap of 20 years.
  • In total, India has been in the UNSC for 14 years, representing roughly a fifth of the time the United Nations (UN) has existed.
  • India must leverage this latest opportunity to project itself as a responsible nation.

India should help build stable and secure environment:

  • India’s major objective as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in 2021-22 should be to help build a stable and secure external environment.
  • In doing so, India will promote its own people’s prosperity, regional and global security and growth, and a rule-based world order.
  • It could emerge a partner of choice for developing and developed countries alike.


Permanent seat for India will happen someday:

  • There is no need for India to waste diplomatic goodwill in seeking an elusive permanent seat in the UNSC which will come India’s way by invitation soon enough.
  • India will have to increase its financial contribution, as the apportionment of UN expenses for each of the P-5 countries is significantly larger than that for India.
  • Even Germany and Japan today contribute many times more than India.
  • Although India has been a leading provider of peacekeepers, its assessed contribution to UN peacekeeping operations is minuscule.


What India should aim to do at UNSC:

Reduce humanitarian interventionism:

  • As a member of the UNSC, India must help guide the Council away from the perils of invoking the principles of humanitarian interventionism or ‘Responsibility to Protect’.
  • The world has seen mayhem result from this.
  • Given the fragile and complex international system, which can become even more unpredictable and conflictual, India should work towards a rules-based global order.

Targeting individuals and entities with sanctions:

  • India should push to ensure that the UNSC Sanctions Committee targets all those individuals and entities warranting sanctions.
  • Multilateral action by the UNSC has not been possible because of narrowly defined national interest.
  • As of May, 2019, 260 individuals and 84 entities are subject to UN sanctions, pursuant to Council resolutions 1267, 1989, and 2253.

India should become a consensus-builder:

  • Having good relations with all the great powers, India must lead the way by pursuing inclusion, the rule of law, constitutionalism, and rational internationalism.
  • India should become a consensus-builder, instead of the outlier it has progressively become.
  • A harmonised response is the necessarty for dealing with global problems of climate change, disarmament, terrorism, trade, and development.
  • India could take on larger burdens to maintain global public goods and build new regional public goods.
    • For example, India should take the lead in activating the UNSC’s Military Staff Committee, which was never set into motion following the UN’s inception.
  • Without it, the UNSC’s collective security and conflict-resolution roles will continue to remain limited.


Way forward:

Looking at polycentric future:

  • A rules-based international order helps rather than hinders India, and embracing the multilateral ethic is the best way forward.
  • India has a strong motive to embrace polycentrism, which might not be suitable to hegemonic powers (who prefer 1 or 2 power blocs) intent on carving out their exclusive spheres of influence.

India should start with improving neighbourhood relations:

  • Finally, India cannot stride the global stage with confidence in the absence of stable relations with its neighbours.
  • Besides whatever else is done within the UN and the UNSC, India must lift its game in South Asia and its larger neighbourhood.



GS Paper II: International Relations

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