India has said the U.N. Security Council in its present structure is “completely out of tune” with global realities and serves “no one’s purpose”, asserting that an expansion in the 15-member body should have permanent representation from Asia, Africa and Latin America.
India, which assumed this month’s Presidency of the Security Council ahead of the expiry of its two-year term as a non-permanent member on December 31, 2012 said the U.N. body has remained “polarised and politically divided” on key issues like Syria and this strengthens the need for its reform.
“The Security Council as it is presently structured is not reflective of contemporary realities, it is completely out of tune with what is happening in the world,” India’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Hardeep Singh Puri told reporters on Friday, outlining the Council’s monthly agenda.
“In order to give the Council effectiveness there is need to enlarge its size. India’s point of view is that the Security Council needs to be more transparent,” he said.
Mr. Puri said the Council, in its present structure, “serves no one’s purpose”, adding that an increase in its membership should have provisions for permanent representation from Africa, Latin America, Caribbean and Asia.
He said there could be consensus around modestly expanding the Council to increasing the number of members to about 25.
On the use of veto, Mr. Puri said while the provision should be retained, there needs to be a discussion on the precise conditions and circumstances under which veto should be used by countries. “There could be a veto restraint agreement.”
He said some of the Council’s permanent members would find it “extremely difficult to justify their place on a new high table.”
Expansion of the Council does not mean “some permanent members should come off the high table but they need to bring on board other countries which carry weight, participate in the Council’s work and will lend credibility to its image and functioning,” he said.
Mr. Puri pointed out that non-permanent members of the Council are at a “disadvantage” since by the time they come to grips with a particular issue, it is time for their rotation.
“It is very well known that permanent members woo the incoming non-permanent members not in terms of using their margin of persuasion to change their views but in order to get their support on the more difficult issues before the Council,” he said.
Asked about countries like Pakistan seeking permanent membership, Mr. Puri said if the South Asian country wants to be a permanent member it should put its candidature forward and then let 193 members of the General Assembly decide by vote.
Responding to the question on Pakistan, Mr. Puri said “some of the countries are so preoccupied with other things that permanent membership of the Council is not even in their own reckoning but they are acting as spoilers and I think we need to smoke that out.”
Mr. Puri said time has come to realise that expansion of the Council will not come from within the Security Council but from traction within the General Assembly.
Several outreach programmes are being undertaken which would lay the basis for putting forward a more concrete proposal on expansion and reform.
“Countries are clear in their minds which nations deserve to be permanent members and which do not. Countries which do not have confidence themselves to become permanent members resort to tactical ploys to confuse the process,” he said.
Referring to the working methods of the Council, Mr. Puri said work of the UNSC severely impacts not only the 15 members but also the 193 member nations of the General Assembly.
“The five permanent members think the Security Council working methods are their exclusive prerogative. Things take a long time to change but change always comes,” he added.
He said India has written to member states to send inputs on how the working methods of the Council can be improved and it seeks to put together a concept paper which will incorporate these inputs and serve as a basis for comprehensive discussion on the issue.