India expects to sail through UN Security Council vote

A file photo of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar launching a brochure outlining India’s priorities for the UNSC seat campaign.

A file photo of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar launching a brochure outlining India’s priorities for the UNSC seat campaign.  

Country stands unopposed as nominee for Asia-Pacific seat; tussle between Canada, Ireland and Norway for Western group

India expects to sail through as the 193-member United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) votes on Wednesday for contenders to five non-permanent seats at the UN Security Council for 2021-22. India is standing unopposed as the nominee for the Asia-Pacific seat and needs two-thirds of UNGA members, or 129 votes, to be confirmed. Mexico is also unopposed in its bid for the Latin American and Caribbean seat, while there is a straight contest between Kenya and late entrant Djibouti for the African seat.

All eyes are, however on the contest between Canada, Ireland and Norway, who are vying for the two seats allotted to the Western European and Others Group (WEOG), with each making a pitch for India’s vote.

‘Not complacent’

On Friday, Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide held a videoconference with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. Eliciting votes for the UNSC was “one of the topics discussed” said Norwegian Ambassador Hans Jacob Frydenlund. “We count on support from a number of friendly countries. We are confident, but not complacent of securing the seat at the UNSC,” he told The Hindu when asked if India had assured Norway its support.

Irish Ambassador to India Brendan Ward would not comment on whether India had specifically offered support. Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar on April 22, and had also met him on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York last September.

“Both Ireland and India have the advantage that neither is a member of a military alliance,” Mr. Ward told The Hindu . “India has led the Non Aligned Movement (NAM), while Ireland has a unique position as a member of the European Union that is not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) alliance,” he added, also alluding to the other “common bond” that Mr. Varadkar is of Indian origin.

Canada in fray

While Ireland announced its candidature in 2005, and Norway in 2007, Canada has been a relatively new entrant in the fray, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcing its bid for the UNSC in 2016, shortly after being elected to power.

Mr. Trudeau has pitched Canada’s campaign as a push for multilateralism in the post COVID-19 global recovery, and has reached out personally to many countries, including in a call with Mr. Modi on April 29, to win the vote.

In its own campaign brochure, India had highlighted its commitment to multilateralism, demand for transparency in mandates for UN peacekeeping missions, push for the Indian-led Comprehensive Convention for International Terrorism (CCIT) and joint efforts for UN reform and the expansion of the UNSC.

As a result, some have suggested that Canada’s membership of the “United for Consensus” grouping that includes Pakistan, who oppose the expansion of the permanent members of the UNSC and push for more non permanent or “elected seats”, could hamper its chances of securing India’s votes.

However, former UN envoy Asoke Mukerji says that the decision for India and other countries will be made by balancing “favours” each country does for others within the UN system, and not as much on ideological differences.

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