The long road ahead: India's run at Security Council

RAM

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India's two-year term on the United Nations Security Council or UNSC will conclude on December 31, 2012, but India is unlikely to leave the Council for years beyond that date, if ever. And US President Barack Obama's ringing endorsement for India to occupy a permanent seat on the Council has just cemented that position. In essence, capturing the non-permanent seat has led to a situation of "permanence" for India at the high table.

There are two scenarios facing India: of an interim arrangement and of permanent reform. One or the other is almost certain to come through before the end of India's two-year term as a non-permanent member on the UNSC from the Asia region.


"We have no intention of leaving the Security Council. We are working to dovetail one into the other," a senior diplomat noted. The implication there was that India would continue on the Council either through an interim solution or if a permanent solution is found, for which negotiations are in progress at the United Nations. That latter process is expected to conclude by early 2012.


Diplomats at India's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York said that the American President's endorsement had had an "electrifying effect" with regard to hastening the reform process. They also said the US President's statement would help "silence the skeptics".


India's case will be bolstered by additional endorsements in the weeks ahead, with both French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev expected to reaffirm their nations' support for India to be at the high table of the UN, during their respective visits to India next month.The only permanent member of the UNSC yet to endorse India is China but even if that does not occur, all indications are that it may not veto a decision of the UN General Assembly to add countries to permanent positions, including India.

But the middle ground is being explored as well and is expected to be enunciated by the French President. That calculus sees new members being voted to the UNSC with terms of eight years or more. These members can be reelected with an "automatic lock in" when it comes to the "final solution", which would be permanent status when the reform process is completed.


The US President's announcement has also changed the dynamic in another way. While earlier there were voices saying that UNSC reform could take many years more, it may have injected greater impetus to the process.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/The-l...-run-at-Security-Council/Article1-624156.aspx
 

RAM

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Germany, Japan fume at Obama's UN nod


NEW DELHI: With India having got the US's coveted backing for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, two major aspirants to the high table are fuming. Both Germany and Japan went public with their annoyance at their claims being overlooked and made their displeasure known to the US.

In an interview to a TV channel, US ambassador to India Tim Roemer admitted as much. He said the two nations had asked why India had been accorded special treatment and the reasons US saw it as a valued partner. The ambassador indicated that the resistance pointed to the distance that needed to be travelled for UN reform to become a reality.

He also suggested that US backing for India's case showed Washington's determination to pursue its ties with India that president Barack Obama outlined during his visit.

While India has managed to wrest an important pledge from president Obama that may take some time to be realized, it is still crucial. So far, Washington had only supported Japan for a permanent seat at the UNSC even though it opposed the G4 (a group that included Japan, Germany, Brazil and India).

With Obamas announcement on Monday, the US has shifted its own stance to accommodate India. But that doesn't mean the G4 to which India has tacked its own aspirations is in the clear yet.

Security Council reform is not only about putting India into the body. The issues at stake are what should be the ideal size of a new UNSC; whether the new members would have veto rights, the number of permanent and non-permanent members, its relations with the UN General Assembly, whether there should be regional representation.

Officials said the UN's body debating the inter-governmental negotiations will restart their deliberations soon. The US show of support will make a difference to India and Japan. Not to Germany, which is opposed by Italy and by many other countries who say giving a permanent seat to Germany would put a third seat in Europe (fourth, if you count Russia as a European power), at a time when European power is in decline. Besides, EU was asking for a separate status for itself in the UNGA, they argue.

Africa is a problem too. There is general consensus that Africa should have two seats in the UNSC, but which two countries? Even the African Union is divided on that. There can't be UNSC reform without the Africans because then the world runs the risk of all 53 African countries boycotting.

Then there is China. The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson on Tuesday, when questioned, said, China values India's status in international affairs and understands India's aspirations to play a greater role in the United Nations and is ready to keep contact and consultations with India and other member states on the issues of Security Council reform.

But even if China can be made to digest an Indian membership, as at the NSG, its not going to be so easy for Japan, which even has South Korea opposing it. Brazil is opposed by Mexico and Argentina (since its the only Portuguese-speaking country in a Spanish-speaking continent), and of course, Pakistan opposes India. These countries had formed the Coffee Club, later renamed United for Consensus, and will most likely be resurrected again, perhaps with tacit Chinese support.

How many permanent members should the new UNSC have? The US wants around 19 members (in both categories). The G4 position is more sensible that's India, Brazil, Japan and Germany, two African countries and three added to the non-permanent list. There are other ideas floating around UK, France and Liechtenstein proposed an interim arrangement for 10 years and a review thereafter. The Chinese are more non-specific and have just said they want more seats for developing countries.

Veto? India will fight to the end for the veto. But many countries say they can live without it, because the veto is not used anymore and lobbying for support is the way to go in the Council. But veto, like nuclear weapons, is a currency of power. That battle, therefore, will continue.

With all these roadblocks, why is India optimistic? Its eminently doable, said sources on background. India's recent bid for the non-permanent seat fetched it 187 votes. That was huge. It signalled, if nothing else, that the world is ready for UNSC reform and that India has a better chance than most. Last week, India won what is believed to be the most difficult vote in the UNGA Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) with a whopping 164 votes, leaving Japan trailing at 146, China at 130 and Pakistan at 114. These, say officials, are all signals of support.

The trick is now to convert all this into a usable text in the UNGA and lay on the diplomatic charm. Indian officials, chuffed at their recent successes, now exhibit a rare can-do spirit. India sees change

Read more: Germany, Japan fume at Obama's UN nod - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...-UN-nod/articleshow/6898211.cms#ixzz14pjW3ITf
 

Dark Sorrow

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One stupid mistake from Nehru is costing us so dearly.
I am starting to hate that man.
 

nrupatunga

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UNSC permanent seat: India and other G4 countries ready to forgo veto for now if granted membership

In a bid to get the United Nations reform process moving, India and other G4 nations have said they were open to innovative ideas and willing to not exercise veto as permanent members of a reformed Security Council until a decision on it has been taken.

In a joint statement, delivered by India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin at an inter-governmental negotiations meeting on Wednesday, the G4 nations of India, Brazil, Germany and Japan emphasised that an overwhelming majority of the UN member states supports the expansion of both permanent and non-permanent membership in a reformed Security Council.

On the issue of the veto, Akbaruddin said the question of veto has been addressed by many from differing perspectives but the G4 approach is that the problem of veto is not one of quantity (of extending it immediately to new permanent members) but of quality — of introducing restrictions.

"Our position is imbued with this spirit. While the new permanent members would as a principle have the same responsibilities and obligations as (the) current permanent members, they shall not exercise the veto until a decision on the matter has been taken during a review," the G4 statement said.

The bloc warned that the issue of veto was important but member states should not allow it to have a "veto over the process of Council reform itself."

Akbaruddin, on behalf of the G4, said the grouping was open to "innovative" and differing ideas compiled in a composite text to achieve UN reform. He asserted that the mere expansion in the category of non-permanent Security Council members will not address the "malaise" afflicting the UN body.

The statement points out that a negotiating text is a basic requirement for work at the UN. "While we are aware of no other way to proceed but this, we are open to innovative ideas to rework the UN system," the statement said.

The G4 nations said it unfortunate that they have not heard any innovative ideas but a few countries bringing old rejected models for consideration of the member states yet again.

"We are, as a matter of respect, willing to consider them and have them tabled along with our proposals in a composite text," the statement said, adding that for the nations' and UN's credibility to be sustained, it is time for "honest engagement and exchange on the basis of a text".

The bloc said it believes there is an "imbalance of influence" within the Security Council between the permanent and non-permanent members and expansion only in the non-permanent category is not going to solve the problem.

"It will actually widen the difference between permanent and non-permanent members even more, tilting further the scales in favour of a dispensation that was valid in the special situation in 1945 but is no longer now," the G4 statement said.

Akbaruddin said a "balanced enlargement" in both categories is necessarily the only way to ensure an equilibrium that reflects the current situation and any reform that does not address expansion of both categories will be "incomplete and futile".

"Expansion of non-permanent membership is a solution which adds to the size without addressing the malaise that afflicts the Council," he said in the statement.

The statement suggested that new permanent members can be democratically elected through an appropriate initial election process and subjected to mandatory and detailed review process after a specific time-period so as to ensure accountability.

Some member states have "conflated and confused" regular elections to the Council with accountability, the G4 said.

"Ensuring a perpetual campaign mode is not the best form of accountability," it said.
EDIT: Looks like this is being discussed in this thread
 

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