IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 24th Oct 2020
We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.– Barbara De Angelis
EDITORIAL HUNT #205 :“Growing 75 Years Old with United Nations | UPSC”
Growing 75 Years Old with United Nations | UPSC
C.S.R. Murthy taught till recently at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
India’s UN journey, from outlier to the high table
As a non-permanent UNSC member now, it needs to uphold the Charter principles in the backdrop of a turbulent world
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : United Nations
India will soon begin its two-year term as a non-permanent UNSC member (January 1, 2021).Discuss the role of India in United Nations -(GS 2)
- India’s membership at UN
- Different Phases
- Shrinking Trust
- UNSC seat
- PLATINUM JUBILEE : The 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations (UN) is an opportunity to look at the major trends, patterns and future challenges .
- NEEDED REFINEMENT : That the UN is indispensable is uncontested despite the clamour for reforms to strengthen its role.
- ESTEEMED BODY : The United Nations did not do anything wonderful, the mere fact of the United Nations itself has been of great significance to the world….”-Jawaharlal Nehru @ UNGA.
MEMBERSHIP AND PHASES
- DIPLOMATIC INFLUENCE : In the first phase until the end of the Cold War in 1989, India had learnt the ropes of exploring and enhancing its diplomatic influence .
- SOFT DIPLOMACY : India as a moderating force in easing armed conflicts in Asia and Africa by disentangling them from the superpower rivalry.
- LESSONS LEARNT : In parallel, the Indian leadership learned the hard way that the UN could not be relied upon to impartially resolve vital security disputes such as Jammu and Kashmir.
- A LEAGUE OF COMMON MOTIVES : As such, UN is only focused on common causes such as anti-colonialism, anti-racism, nuclear disarmament, environment conservation and equitable economic development.
- REDESIGNING FOREIGN POLICY : A loss in the 1962 border war against China meant a definitive redesign of the country’s diplomatic style to privilege bilateral contacts over the third party role by the UN.
A DEMANDING DECADE
- TOUGH TIMES : The 1990s spelled the most difficult decade for India; The disintegration of the Soviet Union and the resultant emergence of the United States in world politics etc.
- BALANCE OF PAYMENT CRISIS : The uncertain political climate caused the balance of payments crisis. It constrained the country’s capability to be active in Security Council (UNSC) and the General Assembly.
- CHANGING DYNAMICS : There was a change in India’s foreign policy which was reflected in voting patterns at the UN.
- KASHMIR DISPUTE : Growing militancy in Kashmir in the early 1990s emboldened Pakistan to internationalise the dispute with accusations about gross human rights violations by India.
- CHECKMATE PAKISTAN : Clearly, India had to work hard to seek favours from Iran and China in the Human Rights Commission to checkmate Pakistan.
- NATO AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA : The threat posed to respect for sovereignty principle by NATO intervention against Yugoslavia in 1999 without the authorisation of the UNSC deeply disturbed India.
- SUPPORT FOR YUGOSLAVIA : India’s efforts, in partnership with Russia and China, to call for an end to aerial attacks did not garner much support in the UNSC.
- NON-PERMANENT SEAT AT UNSC : Further, the extent of India’s diplomatic difficulties was exposed when it suffered a humiliating defeat in the hands of Japan in the 1996 contest for a non-permanent seat in the UNSC.
- INDIA’s FIGHT BACK : India resolutely stood against indefinite extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1995, and it stoutly rejected the backdoor entry to Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1996.
- SURPRISE TO THE WORLD : UN perhaps pushed India to surprise the world in 1998 with its Pokhran nuclear weapon tests, ignoring the likely adverse reaction from the nuclear club.
WINDS OF CHANGE
- NEW AVENUES : Remarkably, the 21st century opened new avenues for India to shine at the UN.
- ECONOMIC REFORMS : Thanks to economic liberalisation and globalisation policies, helped a great deal in strengthening its profile.
- THE REVIVAL : India has emerged as a responsible stakeholder in the threat of non-state actors acquiring weapons of mass destruction, and the impact of climate change.
- BUDGETARY ALLOCATION : India has scaled up its contributions to development and humanitarian agencies, while India’s share to the UN assessed budget has registered a hike from 0.34% to 0.83%.
- GROWING POPULARITY : India’s growing popularity is evident in the successful electoral contests for various prestigious slots in the UNSC, UNHCR ,ICJ etc.
INDIA HAS INVESTED MUCH TIME AT UN IN
- DEFINING TERRORISM : The first relates to the draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism it drafted and revised with the hope of helping consensus.
- NON-CONSENSUS : India encountered reservations from among Islamic and other countries on provisions regarding to convention’s application to state armed forces.
SECURITY COUNCIL EXPANSION
- EQUITABLE EXPANSION : Equally important is the question of equitable expansion of the UNSC to enable India to attain permanent membership .
- STAUNCH OPPOSITION : It also includes stout opposition from some 30 middle powers such as Italy and Pakistan which fear losing out to regional rivals .
- MASTERMINDS : In the event of an addition of permanent seats, and the intrigues masterminded by one or two permanent members.
- BOUNCE BACK : India’s future role will probably depend on its ability to weather the impact of the multiple crises it now faces on account of an unabated economic slowdown and a troubled relationship with China.
ONCE IN THE SEAT
- In the midst of the currently volatile situation as characterised by the Trump administration’s disdain towards multilateral institutions.
- The changing U.S.-China equation, China’s growing political isolation on account of the spread of the novel coronavirus.
- China’s aggressive territorial expansion in eastern Ladakh and the South China Sea.
- VOTING SCENARIO : India may have to choose either to abstain in the vote since it is a party to the dispute or vote against any unfavourable proposal that might be tabled.
- FIRST VOTE : Exercising the latter option would be the first of its kind in India’s voting record at the UNSC.
The growing proximity with the U.S. may prompt India not to stay neutral in order to counter balance China.
SOURCES: THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Growing 75 Years Old with United Nations | UPSC