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‘India has become a model for countries’: Jaishankar on ‘inevitable’ permanent UNSC membership


S Jaishankar, India, UNSC permanent membership
Image Source : S JAISHANKAR (X) (FILE) External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar

Rajkot: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday expressed optimism for India’s permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), saying it was inevitable but heightened efforts were needed to advance in that area. The minister asserted that India had become a model for other countries and has become a democracy that is an inspiration for other nations.

Speaking to intellectuals at an event in Rajkot, Gujarat, Jaishankar acknowledged the current dominance of the five permanent members of the council – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – and emphasised that the international momentum was now favouring India’s bid for a permanent seat at the UNSC. 

Highlighting the historical context of the UNSC’s formation and the evolving global landscape with around 193 member countries today, the EAM said, “These five nations have kept their control, and it is strange that you have to ask them to give us their consent for a change. A few agree, a few others put forward their position with honesty, while others do something from behind.”

“But now, there is a feeling across the world that this should change, and India should get a permanent seat. I see this feeling increasing every year,” he said, adding “We will definitely get it. But nothing big is ever achieved without hard work…we will have to work hard, and this time we will have to work even harder,” he added while speaking about the collaborative proposals involving India, Japan, Germany, and Egypt which have been submitted to the UN.

There is a feeling UN has weakened: Jaishankar

Jaishankar further linked the UN’s perceived weakening to increased opportunities for India’s bid for permanent membership saying, “…there is a feeling in the world that the UN has weakened.” He also stressed the importance of mounting pressure, citing recent stalemates over conflicts like the Ukraine war and the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

“There was a deadlock in the UN on the Ukraine war and no consensus was reached in the UN regarding Gaza. I think as this feeling increases, our chances of getting a permanent seat will increase,” he added. Jaishankar also highlighted India’s democratic achievements and economic resilience amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today, India has become a model for many countries…India is not just a democracy that delivers but a democracy that is also an inspiration for the world,” he said, while mentioning that the world is amazed at India moving towards 7 per cent growth despite the COVID-19 pandemic hampering growth. He also emphasised the nation’s role as a talented and capable contributor to global problem-solving efforts.

“We should understand that being the fifth largest economy, on the way to becoming the third largest and with the biggest population, the world believes us to be talented people and expects us to contribute to resolving challenges,” the minister further said.

India’s efforts for UN reforms

It is pertinent to note that India has repeatedly called for reform of global governance institutions such as the United Nations. At the G20 Summit held in New Delhi last year, India highlighted the need for reforms of the UNSC and addressed the concerns regarding the inefficiency of multilateral institutions to deal with new challenges.

India recently questioned why the UNSC has been rendered “completely ineffective” in resolving the Russia-Ukraine conflict that has continued unabated for two years, as New Delhi asserted that outdated structures need reform for multilateralism to be effective. Kamboj asserted that for multilateralism to be effective, “outdated and archaic structures need reform and reinventing, or else their credibility will always be on the wane”.

Last month, Jaishankar, while speaking at the Nikkei Forum in Japan, highlighted that if the most populous countries in the world and some of the biggest resource providers for the UN are kept out, it is not good for the Security Council. He said as opposed to having only 50 countries when the UN was founded, it now has 200 countries and should widen the scope of participation.

Currently, only the five permanent members – China, France, Russia, the UK and the US – hold veto powers and through its use have stalled action in the Council to address global challenges and conflicts such as in Ukraine and Gaza. The remaining 10 nations in the Council are elected to sit as non-permanent members for two-year terms and do not have veto powers.

India in March presented a detailed model on behalf of G4 countries – Brazil, Germany, Japan and India – for UN Security Council reform which proposed that the Security Council’s membership increase from the current 15 to 25-26, by adding six permanent and four or five non-permanent members. The proposed model was supported by several members of the UNSC.

(with inputs from agencies)

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