Permanent membership of the UNSC is another story

Permanent membership of the UNSC is another story

Permanent membership of the UNSC is another story

#GS-02 International Relations

For Prelims

About United Nations Security Council:

  • UNSC is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and was established by the UN Charter in 1945.
  • The council has 15 members i.e., the five permanent members and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms.
  • The five permanent members are the United States, the Russian Federation, France, China and the United Kingdom i.e., the winners of the second World War.
  • The five permanent members are given veto power which allows them to veto any resolution in the Security Council.

For Mains:

About Veto power:

  • Russia, as both the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation, has cast the highest number of vetoes (estimated to be 120 times, ‘or close to half of all vetoes’) amongst the P5 nations.
  • The western nations especially the US have used their veto powers multiple times to protect Israel when the Palestinian question was being discussed.
  • They also used veto to prevent sanctions being imposed on the apartheid regime of South Africa.
  • Hence there is a rising criticism amongst the members of UN about the existence and use of veto power.
  • Russians have used their veto powers in favour of India on many occasions on the question of Kashmir.

The need for UNSC reforms:

  • Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean are unrepresented in the permanent category at present.
  • India, Japan, Brazil and Germany, a group called the G-4 is aiming at increasing the size of permanent seats at UNSC.

Why the reforms are not expected to happen?

  • While Africa’s claim for two permanent seats has wide understanding and support, the Africans have yet to decide which two countries to choose.
  • As for India neither Pakistan nor China will be endorsing India’s inclusion into permanent membership of UNSC.
  • Italy argues that if Germany and Japan who are both Axis powers during the Second World War, becomes permanent members, that would leave out only Italy amongst the former axis powers as not a permanent member.
  • Even if India enjoyed near universal support, there is no way that India alone can be elected; it will have to be a package deal involving countries from other groups.
  • Changing the membership of the Council requires amending the Charter.
  • This involves consent of two-thirds of the total membership of the U N, including the concurring votes of P-5.

What is a realistic solution:

  • Experts have suggested that a new category of semi-permanent members could be created.
  • Countries would be elected for a period of eight to 10 years and would be eligible for re-election.
  • While membership with veto power is a very remote possibility permanent membership without veto could very well be possible.
  • Hence India might as well target at a permanent membership without veto which is more practical.