History of India’s participation at the UN:

Article Title: History of India’s participation at the UN:


International Relations Current Affairs Analysis

India is a founding member of UN. India signed the UN charter on 1945. Since the Independence the participation of India in the UN is huge and highly commendable. The participation can be divided into 3 Phases.

During Cold war period (1947 to 1990)

A decade of economic reforms in India (1990-2000)

The phase of New India (Since 2000’s)

During Cold war period (1947 to 1990):

In 1950-51, India, being a President of UNSC, India presided over the adoption of resolutions asking for a cessation of hostilities during the Korean War and also for assisting the Republic of Korea.

In 1967-68, India co-sponsored a Resolution for extending the mandate of the UN mission in Cyprus.

In 1977-78, India was a strong supporter of Africa and spoke against apartheid, and also raise concerns for the independence of Namibia.

In 1984-85, India was leading supporter in the UNSC for the resolution of conflicts in the Middle East, especially Palestine and Lebanon.

A decade of economic reforms in India (1990-1992):

India suffered a humiliating defeat in the hands of Japan in the 1996 contest for a non-permanent seat in the UNSC.

India stood against indefinite extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT)in 1995, and rejected the backdoor introduction for adoption of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty(CTBT) in 1996

With the objective of providing a comprehensive legal framework to combat terrorism, India piloted a draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) in 1996.

The phase of New India (Since 2000’s):

India’s Economic policies and globalization strengthened India’s role and negotiating powers in the UN.

Gradually India became a strong voice for the developing world, peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, and concerns about the problems in the African nations.

During the 2011-12 term, India chaired the UNSC Committee concerning Counter-Terrorism, a Working Group concerning the threat to international peace and security by terror acts, and Security Council Committee concerning Somalia and Eritrea.

India worked closely with its supporters in the UNSC and in May 2019 India succeeded in placing Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar under the UNSC’s 1267 Sanctions Committee concerning al-Qaida and ISIS and associated individuals and entities, The action which was pending since 2009.

Significance of India to the UN:

India is the 3rd largest economy in terms of GDP (PPP) and the 2nd most populous nation.

India is a founding member of the UN, and India has been a non-permanent member of the UNSC for the 8th term and also a member of other international structures such as MTCR, The Wassenaar Arrangement, etc.

India enjoys the backing of major powers including four permanent members other than China and also the African Union, Latin America, Middle Eastern countries, and other LDCs from different parts of the globe.

India provides large numbers of soldiers to the UN for peacekeeping missions,

India is a responsible nuclear nation, which has stated a clear no-first-use policy and also followed the same in spirit and soul.

India’s success in space technology is another point for its candidature.

India has been a responsible power and it has contributed significantly to global peace efforts and Humanitarian and Disaster Relief measures in various countries such as Pakistan, Yemen, South Sudan and the majority of the South Asian nations, etc.

Challenges to India at the UN:

China Factor: China does not want India and Japan to join the UNSC as permanent members. China is against India for reasons such as on the issue of cross-border terrorism, China continues to protect Pakistan. China tried to get the UNSC to focus on India’s constitutional changes in Kashmir.

Challenge to multilateralism: There is a rift between the permanent members of the Security Council. For example,

China has stepped in to take advantage of the West’s retreat from multilateralism and China is also flouting international law and order. BREXIT has shown that nationalism still remains a strong factor in Europe.

Change in Contemporary geopolitical realities: The global power matrix has moved towards multilateralism but the UNSC and UN’s power matrix concentrated on select countries.

Under-representation of Countries: The regions like far East Asia, South America, Africa have no representation in the permanent membership of the council which can push for reforms at the UN level.

India and UNSC:

India has been spearheading decades-long efforts to reform the Security Council, saying a structure set up in 1945 does not reflect contemporary realities of the 21st century and is ill-equipped to handle current challenges.

There is widespread support, including by four of the five permanent members of the Security Council – US, UK, France and Russia – for a permanent seat for India at the Council.

China, part of the permanent five (P5) of the UNSC with veto power, has been stonewalling India’s efforts to become a member of the UN’s powerful body for years, pointing to lack of consensus even though the other four members have supported New Delhi’s membership.

India and UNSC Reform:

Reformed Multilateralism Guides India’s approach to the United Nations.

India has long sought a permanent seat at the Council.

It is also a proponent of other UNSC reforms — such as increasing the number of permanent (currently five) and non-permanent (currently 10) seats and ensuring greater representation for Africa.

India is claiming a permanent seat at the UNSC on the basis of following arguments:

It’s a regular contributor to the UN’s peacekeeping missions.

It’s one of the main financial backers of the UN.

It’s the world’s largest democracy.

It’s the world’s second most populous country.

It maintains one of the largest armies in the world.

It is responsible for nuclear power despite being non-signatory to NPT.

India has been elected eight times to the UN Security Council, most recently from 2021 to 2022 after receiving 184 of 192 votes.

As a member of G4: The G4 consists of Germany, Japan, India and Brazil. The G4 mainly seek permanent seats for themselves, but are willing to forego their veto rights for fifteen years or possibly even longer.

They also demand that Africa should be represented in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of membership of a reformed and expanded Security Council to correct the historical injustice against this continent.