Decisive day for U.N. reforms process

A file photo of the U.N. Security Council in session. India is part of the G-4 group that is hopeful of the Security Council membership.  

Indian officials are bracing for “last minute surprises” that could stall the U.N. reform process when United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) president Sam Kutesa on Monday presents a resolution to continue the negotiations for another year.

The negotiations of the Inter-Governmental committee (IGN), which for the first time, have included written submissions from all countries could give the process for an expansion of the U.N. Security council some momentum. However, if countries like China, or other groups opposed to the UNSC expansion demand a division, India and other countries who are bidding for a Security Council seat may have to muster up the numbers for a vote to pass the resolution.

If passed, the draft resolution, forwarded by Mr. Kutesa to all the ambassadors to the U.N. on September 10th would include in the U.N. agenda for next year the “Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council."

‘If it doesn’t go through, we would be back to square one’

India is part of the G-4 group that is hopeful of the Security Council membership. “This is a necessary step for India, if we wish to realise our dream of making progress in the U.N.’s 70th year. If it doesn’t go through, we would be back to square one,” an official told The Hindu ahead of the resolution.

The resolution will be presented by Mr. Kutesa on his last day as president of the UNGA at 10 a.m. (7.30 p.m. IST), he announced in his letter.

Senior diplomats told The Hindu they hoped the resolution would be adopted without any opposition. However, if members call for a division, it would be up to the UNGA to decide whether a simple majority or a two-thirds majority would be required.

Opposition to the expansion

Officials in Delhi and New York admit they face challenges from many countries. The U.S. has expressed support for India and Japan, but hasn’t included the support in its written submission. Neither has Russia, which supports India and Brazil as BRICS members to be in the Security Council, but has shown no inclination to push the reform process forward. China has made no official submission, but is unlikely to help any attempt to include its rivals Japan and India in the power-group of the U.N.

India also has to contend with opposition from a group of 13 countries, made up of rivals to the G-4 including Pakistan, Italy, South Korea, and Colombia called Uniting for Consensus (UFC). The UFC demands a 25-member Security Council with more non-permanent members instead of a few more permanent members. Ahead of the resolution, Pakistan’s U.N. Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi called the plan for only 4 countries to be included an expansion of the “club of the powerful and privileged”.

“That is why we believe the best way to achieve this is to ensure an expansion of non-permanent members because that will give a chance to more countries to serve in and have a voice in the Security Council,” she said in an interview to The News.

Then, there is the question of whether new members in the Security Council would be given the veto at all, which the U.S. and Russia have made very clear they would not favour.

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Printable version | Jun 11, 2021 7:41:03 AM |

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