India has called for countries to respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and respect international agreements. Speaking at a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting, ‘Promote Common Security Through Dialogue and Cooperation’ , on August 22, 2022, India’s Permanent Representative to the U.N., Ruchira Kamboj, in a possible veiled reference to China and/or Russia, said that the international order depended on a respect for the principle of sovereignty and changing the status quo by force harmed common security.
She also warned that the U.N. was in “real danger” by being superseded by more democratic groupings, if the Security Council was not reformed. The meeting was organised under the aegis of China’s presidency of the Council for the month of August.
“Common security” was based on “upholding the rules-based international order, underpinned by international law, premised upon respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all Member States, resolution of international disputes through peaceful negotiations and free and open access for all to the global commons” Ms Kamboj said.
Significantly, “free and open” is also frequently used to describe an objective for the Indo-Pacific region, held by India and some countries it partners with, such as through the Quad grouping, as a counter to Beijing’s assertive stance in the region.
“Any coercive or unilateral action that seeks to change the status quo by force is an affront to common security,” Ms Kamboj said, adding that common security was only possible when countries stand together on terrorism and do not practice “double standards” on the issue and when they do not take unilateral measures to back out of agreements.
“Common security is also possible only if countries respect agreements signed with others, bilateral or multilateral, and do not take unilateral measures to nullify those very arrangements to those they were party to,” she said. Just on Sunday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, on a visit to Brazil, had said that China’s disregard for border agreements with India dating back to the 1990s, was “casting a shadow”.
Ms Kamboj called for multilateral reform, particularly at the Security Council, saying common security could not be aspired for if the common good of the global south was denied representation.
“The most urgent thing, therefore, for us to do, is to make the Security Council more representative of developing countries so as to reflect current geopolitical realities,” she said, suggesting that the African continent should also have permanent representation on the Council.
An institution created in the aftermath of World War II, which, 77 years later, continued to reflect the “fundamentally flawed” premise of “to the victors belong the spoils” , would face a credibility and confidence crisis, Ms Kamboj said.
If the Council is not reformed, Ms Kamboj warned, there is “a real danger“ that the U.N. would be superseded by “ more representative, more transparent, more democratic, and therefore more effective” plurilateral and mulilateral groupings.