India’s singular 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 rule-based world order. It could emerge a partner of choice for developing and developed countries alike.
Changing the state of the world –
A report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, “World in 2050”, predicts that by 2050, China will be the world’s number one economic power, followed by India. That said, one of the challenges of the international system today, and for India in the UNSC, is that this profound impending change is largely unrecognized by the great powers and other countries.
What should India aim to do?
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.
At a time when there is a deficit of international leadership on global issues, especially on security, migrant movement, poverty, and climate change, India has an opportunity to promote well-balanced, common solutions. It can be done by –
- First, 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’. Given the fragile and complex international system, which can become even more unpredictable and conflictual, India should work towards a rules-based global order. Sustainable development and promoting peoples’ welfare should become its new drivers.
- Second, 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.
- Third, 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 once again become a consensus-builder, instead of the outlier it has progressively become. 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 –
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. Exclusive reliance on India’s brilliant team of officers at its New York mission is not going to be enough.
Source – The Hindu