Home / Opinion / Indian and the UNSC seat | By Malik Muhammad Ashraf
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Indian and the UNSC seat | By Malik Muhammad Ashraf

US President Barack Obama during his  recent visit  to India, apart from formally sealing the civil nuclear technology deal also reiterated US support for a permanent seat for India in the UN Security Council;  a claim which is also supported by other permanent members of the SC except China which so far has remained non-committal on the issue.

India, Germany, Japan and Brazil known as P-4 have been staking their claim for permanent seats for themselves since 1992 supporting the process of reforms in the UNSC that aims for the expansion in the permanent as well as non-permanent members to give the Council a more representative status.
As against this a group known as Uniting for Consensus (UfC) which includes Pakistan, Italy, Mexico, South Korea, Argentina and Colombia want expansion only in the non-permanent members of the Security Council.

The existing permanent members of the SC support the position of the P-4.
Apart from this the African and Arab nations also want their representation on the Council.

There are also other nagging issues that need to be firmed up before a process of reforms in the UNSC could be formally initiated.

These issues include determination of the categories of the membership, question of the veto power held by the permanent members, regional representation, the size of the enlarged Council and its working methods and the relationship between SC and General Assembly after the reforms.

It is pertinent to note that any reforms to be carried out require the support of the two-third majority of the UN members and all the permanent members of the SC.

That explains why no reforms have been made in the UN Security Council since 1965 when the number of non-permanent members was increased from six to ten.

Until and unless the concerns and demands of the various groups are not addressed and consensus evolved on likely reforms, which in view of the conflicting position taken by different groups, the dream of the P-4 to become permanent members of the SC would remain as elusive as ever.
China’s reluctance to support India on the issue could also delay the matter indefinitely because it does not approve of India’s support for Japan on the issue.

Actually the real sticking point is the veto power enjoyed by the permanent members.

Those who are opposed to the increase in the number of permanent members including Pakistan believe that adding more permanent members to the SC with veto power would further make the UN ineffective in resolving the major issues of global concern like in the past.

These apprehensions and fears are not without substance.

During the cold war the SC failed to adopt any consensus resolution on Warsaw Pact, Invasion of former Czechoslovakia, the Vietnam War and Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan.

The Palestine and Kashmir issues, which are a potential threat to regional and global peace have also remained unresolved due to the veto power enjoyed by the permanent members.

The SC has also failed in a number of cases to get its own resolutions implemented though it has the powers under the present UN charter even to use military muscle to have them implemented.
This inability of the SC to have its resolutions implemented has been a victim of the veto power enjoyed by the permanent members.

The permanent members enjoy the right of veto in the selection of UN Secretary General which gives the P-5 great influence and clout in world affairs.

A majority of UN members are not happy and satisfied with the way the UN and its Security Council have been functioning.

Pakistan’s opposition to the P-4 position, especially the permanent seat for India, is absolutely justified not only for foregoing reasons but also for the fact that India does not qualify for claiming a permanent seat of the UNSC as it does not even fit into the criteria spelled out by the Bureau of Public Affairs of the US which reads, “The US is open to UN Security Council reform and expansion, as one element of an overall agenda for UN reform.

We advocate a criteria-based approach under which potential members must be supremely well qualified based on factors such as: economic size, population, military capacity, commitment to democracy, human rights, financial contribution to the UN, contribution to UN peacekeeping and record on counter-terrorism and non-proliferation.

We have to look of course, at the overall geographic balance of the Council, but effectiveness remains the benchmark for any reform.

” India does not have an enviable record on human rights.

 According to the reports compiled by international human rights organizations, during the last 24 years the Indian security forces in Kashmir have killed nearly 94 thousand Kashmiris, raped more than ten thousand women and killed more than seven thousand persons while in custody.

The Samjhota Express tragedy which was planned and executed by the Indian intelligence agents also speaks volumes about the human rights record of India.

The present Indian Prime Minister is a known and avowed practitioner of communal politics with strong anti-Muslim bias.

On top of this, India is guilty of defying 23 UN resolutions on Kashmir calling for a plebiscite to settle the issue of accession.

How could a country with such a dismal and despicable record on human rights and having shown disrespect for the UN resolution  be a member of the UNSC and expected to promote global peace, which is the main function of the Council? India is in fact a threat to regional and global peace

The Indian claim also pales into nothingness on the basis of geographical balance criteria.

There are two members of the UNSC from Asia.

As is evident India does not fit into the criteria enunciated for the membership of the UNSC, by the US itself.

Pakistan and India are both nuclear powers who have fought three wars over Kashmir and until and unless this tangle is not resolved, Pakistan cannot trust India becoming the member of the SC and sabotage the resolution of the conflict permanently by using veto power that it would acquire by becoming the permanent member of the UNSC.

If Obama sees India as US Partner in global security, his topmost priority should be to persuade the former to prove its credentials as promoter of world peace and security by resolving the Kashmir dispute in conformity with the UN resolutions.

Mere words and expediency-driven rhetoric is not going to help.

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