Context: India will be occupying non-permanent UNSC seat for the eighth time. The Indian government had launched its plan for the UNSC seat as far back as 2013 with a keen eye on 2021, the year that will mark its 75th year of Independence.
More on the news:
- India is guaranteed a place in the UNSC as it is the sole candidate for Asia-Pacific,
- However, India needs two-thirds of the 193-member General Assembly to vote in its favour in a secret ballot which is scheduled for June 17 in New York.
- While India is expected to sail through with the 129 votes required for the seat, the government is setting its sights on much higher numbers than that ahead of the election.
- In 2010, when India stood for the UNSC seat of 2011-2012, it had won 187 of the 190 votes polled.
- India has already held a non-permanent seat on the UNSC for seven terms earlier: 1950-1951, 1967-1968, 1972-1973, 1977-1978, 1984-1985, 1991-1992 and 2011-2012.
- Mexico is also expected to be elected unopposed for the Latin American group.
- Also, there will be a battle for 2 seats of the West European and Others Group (WEOG) between Canada, Ireland and Norway, and for the African seat between Kenya and Djibouti.
Challenges in India’s path
- India was asked to identify an uncontested spot(where there is no competition from another country), which was a problem as the first such slot would only come available in 2026. However, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan agreed, in a gesture, to step aside for the 2021-22 seat.
- Another challenge for India was to pursue the Asia-Pacific grouping nomination without any last-minute contenders being propped up against India.
- Ultimately India was able to win a unanimous endorsement from the 55-nation grouping that included both China and Pakistan, in June 2019.
- Also, there is another challenge to win the maximum votes at the General Assembly as
- There are rising tensions in relations between India and both China and Pakistan.
- India has been criticised from countries such as Turkey and Malaysia and other groupings like the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) over India’s decision on Article 370 last August as well as the Citizenship Amendment Act.
What will be India’s objective during the tenure?
- India’s overall objective during this tenure in the UN Security Council will be the achievement of N.O.R.M.S: a New Orientation for a Reformed Multilateral System.
- India will highlight international terrorism, United Nations reforms and Security Council expansion, streamlining the world body’s peacekeeping operations and technology initiatives.
United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
- The Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
- Under the Charter of the United Nations, all Member States are obligated to comply with Council decisions.
- The Security Council takes the lead in determining the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression.
- It calls upon the parties to a dispute to settle it by peaceful means and recommends methods of adjustment or terms of settlement.
- In some cases, the Security Council can resort to imposing sanctions or even authorize the use of force to maintain or restore international peace and security.
- The Security Council is made up of fifteen member states - consisting of
- five permanent members - China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States and
- Ten non-permanent members elected for a two-year term by the General Assembly on a regional basis.
- "Veto power" refers to the power of the permanent member to veto (Reject) any resolution of the Security Council.
- Each year the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members by 2/3rd majority (out of 10 in total) for a two-year term.
- A retiring member is not eligible for immediate re-election.
- The 10 non-permanent seats are distributed on a regional basis as follows:
- five for African and Asian States;
- one for Eastern European States;
- two for the Latin American and Caribbean States;
- two for Western European and other States.
Functions and powers
- to maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations;
- to investigate any dispute or situation which might lead to international friction;
- to recommend methods of adjusting such disputes or the terms of settlement;
- to formulate plans for the establishment of a system to regulate armaments;
- to determine the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken;
- to call on Members to apply economic sanctions and other measures not involving the use of force to prevent or stop aggression;
- to take military action against an aggressor;
- to recommend the admission of new Members;
- to exercise the trusteeship functions of the United Nations in "strategic areas";
- to recommend to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and, together with the Assembly, to elect the Judges of the International Court of Justice.