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Need a reformed Security Council reflecting geographical, developmental diversity: India

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United Nations: India has underscored the need for a reformed UN Security Council that better reflects the geographical and developmental diversity of the United Nations today, emphasising that the majority of the world body’s membership supports calls for expanding permanent seats in the powerful organ.

India has been at the forefront, especially leading the Global South, demanding reforms in the United Nations and seeking a place as a permanent member of the 15-member UN Security Council.

“India is in favour of expansion of UN Security Council membership in both the permanent and non-permanent categories, as this is the only way to achieve genuine reform of the Security Council and make it legitimate, representative, responsive and effective,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj said Monday.

Addressing the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) meeting on Security Council Reform on Co-Chairs Elements Paper, Kamboj underlined the need for “a reformed Security Council that better reflects the geographical and developmental diversity of the United Nations today.

“A Security Council where voices of developing countries and unrepresented regions, including Africa, Latin America and the vast majority of Asia and Pacific, also find their due place at the horseshoe table. And for this, an expansion of the Council in both categories of membership is absolutely essential.”

The current UNSC comprises five permanent members (the US, the UK, China, France and Russia) and 10 non-permanent members. She noted that some member states keep pushing the argument that expansion in the permanent categories of the UNSC would be ‘undemocratic’.

“We fail to understand how something that is clearly being called for by the majority of the membership would be ‘undemocratic’. We cannot continue to be hostage to a minority in the IGN,” she said, in an apparent reference to countries like Pakistan, which has been opposing the expansion in permanent categories of the UNSC.

Kamboj noted that expansion in the permanent categories is a position supported by the majority of Member States. “This fact is on record,” she said as she cited the 2015 Framework Document, on the issue of “Categories of Membership”. A total of 113 Member States, out of 122 who submitted their positions in the Framework Document, supported expansion in both of the existing categories specified in the Charter.

“This means that more than 90 per cent of the written submissions in the document were in favour of expansion in both categories of membership specified in the Charter. On the contrary, longer-term non-permanent seats which was an idea mooted during the inception of the UN, to only be discarded due to its ineffectiveness cannot be treated as a convergence, as it is only backed by a handful of member states,” she said.

The Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group that includes Pakistan and China is opposed to the creation of new permanent members in the Security Council. The UfC model entails a Security Council with 26 seats, with an increase only in the non-permanent, elected members.

It proposes creating nine new long-term seats with immediate re-election possibilities. Last month, India presented a detailed model on behalf of the G4 nations of Brazil, Germany, Japan and itself for Security Council reform. The G4 model proposes 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.

She emphasised that at this stage in the reform process, Member States are not discussing which specific country would occupy the new permanent seats in an expanded and reformed Council. “We are simply discussing a possible framework for the creation of new permanent seats. The subsequent election of these new permanent members would obviously be by a vote of two-thirds of the members of the General Assembly, through a secret ballot, per the rules of procedure of the General Assembly,” she said.

Kamboj said that the international community acknowledges the fact that the present structure of the Security Council is not reflective of contemporary realities and that there is an urgent need to reform it.

“Expanding only in the non-permanent category will not solve the problem – in fact it will widen the difference between permanent and non-permanent members even more, further entrenching a dispensation that is no longer relevant in the current geo-political context,” she said at the sixth round of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council reform.

Kamboj stressed that it is important to capture the models’ discussion to initiate text-based negotiations within a fixed time frame. India called on the co-chairs of the IGN process to produce a ‘zero draft’ of a negotiating text based on the inputs received from Member States.

“We encourage the Co-Chairs not to get distracted by the arguments that call for consensus on all clusters before moving to text-based negotiations. This is a complete inversion of the process followed for all other UN negotiations,” Kamboj said.

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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