Friday, September 4, 2009

UN Security Council Expansion Imperative Amid New World Scenario

India has fully endorsed the proposal put up by the G4 countries to reform the United Nations Security Council to enable it to meet the present day needs. The G4 is a group of four nations -- India, Brazil, Germany, and Japan--which are demanding expansion of the UN Security Council and a seat for each in the expanded Security Council.

Dignity and Prestige
The fact is the United Nations is losing its dignity and prestige because of inherent shortcomings and irregularities. Gradually, its image has become one that only safeguards and protects the interests of the United States or Europe. It is not only surprising but strange that there are only five permanent members that claim to be a representative body of the international community.

Of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, four are European countries and the United States. It is only China that represents entire Asia in the Security Council while the majority of the world population is found in Asia. Equally strange is that African countries have been totally ignored. Furthermore, four members are developed countries. Undoubtedly, such a situation cannot be termed just and impartial under any circumstances.

Asian and Developing Nations' Demand
Asian and developing nations are justified in their demand that the Un Security Council be reformed and the strength of its permanent and non-permanent members increased. The G4 countries made the demand in 2005. It demanded that while expanding the Security Council, new permanent members should be accorded the same rights, including the right to veto enjoyed by the five permanent members.

Countries such as the United States, despite agreeing to the demand of the G4, are avoiding expansion of the Security Council as it would mean the end of the US supremacy, and would become a hindrance to its designs. It is, therefore, keeping the issue pending.

India's Stance
The stance adopted by the Indian representative, Hardeep Singh Parmi, at the third session of the United Nations General Assembly, is not only in accordance with the demand raised by G4 nations but is also in tune with the demand of Asian and African nations.

Clarifying the Indian stand, Parmi advocated an increase in the number of non-permanent members. He maintained that two things have become clear during the first and third round of the talks. First, most countries accept that going by the current situation, the strength of the permanent and non-permanent members should be increased.

Reforms in the Organization

Since the establishment of the United Nations, the world has gone through a sea-change which makes the reform to the international body imperative and inevitable. While the disintegration of the Soviet Union has made the Cold War between two superpowers a part of history, the continuing economic crisis of the only superpower has proved hollowness of its strength.

Also, the beating that the United States has received in Iraq and Afghanistan has weakened it further and its claim to be the keeper of the world is slipping out of its hand. Thing have come to such a head that experts in world affairs have even predicted its disintegration in not very distant future. In such a scenario, the United States continues to play the role of a keeper of the United Nations only because of lack of reforms in the world body.

Despite the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the end of British colonial imperialism, the two countries continue to be permanent members of the Security Council. Keeping fast emerging economic powers such as India out of the Security Council and not granting them permanent membership is clear evidence of the injustice prevailing in the United Nations. Equally strange is the stoic silence of the United States on the issue.

The issue does not relate to India alone. The fact remains that countries like Brazil, Japan and Germany have made their presence felt in the comity of nations and have become powers to reckon with. They have also played a pivotal role in several international issues. Going by it all, these countries have indeed the right to demand a permanent seat in the Security Council. The inclusion of these countries in an expanded Security Council and their involvement in reforming the United Nations would certainly add to the dignity of the organization and strengthen its representative character indeed.

Inevitable Situation
The merger of East and West Germany has made Germany a major power in the world and Japan has left Europe and the United States behind in its industrial progress. Brazil is one country the industrial progress of which can easily be termed worth emulating by African countries.

As far as India is concerned, it is the second fast emerging economy of the world after China. In view of these factors, inclusion of these countries in the Security Council as permanent members has become inevitable. At the same time, reforming the United Nations and the Security Council should be considered seriously.

There have been several occasions when the working and the performance of the United Nations have come under heavy criticism. The United Nations has failed to perform its duty toward smaller countries. Imbalanced decisions on international issues have tarnished the UN image. The United Nations lacks capability and the will to act, things that are most needed in the world today.

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