In the last, we discussed about UNSC and India’s contribution in UNSC. This article, discusses the shifting world order and new challenges. As well as how India can make the most of its two-year UNSC Non-Permanent Membership.
For the third time since the end of the Cold War, India admitted to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The current world order, however, is substantially different from India’s previous UNSC tenure in 1991-92 and 2011-12.
The question posed by the current world order is whether a peaceful agreement can result in the redistribution of power among the various superpowers.
In this setting, India should make the most of its two-year term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council to advance national interests and global peace.
CHANGING WORLD ORDER IN THE RECENT TIMES
- New Cold-War: With the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, the world order shifted from bipolar to unipolar. The current world order, on the other hand, lacks a systemic balance, which is necessary for maintaining international stability.
This is owing to the advent of a New Cold War between the United States and China. This amounts to a struggle for a new political, economic, and military power distribution.
Furthermore, the disparities between the United States, China, and Russia have become insurmountable.
- Retrenchment of US: The United States’ withdrawal from global affairs is a key aspect of the contemporary international order. This seen in the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, the JCPOA, and other agreements. Multilateralism and globalization have taken a serious hit as a result of this retreat.
- Indo-Pacific as a New Sub-System: The development of China has shifted the power balance in the South China Sea. As a result, countries such as the United States, India, Japan, and others have collaborated. Inorder to define the Indo-Pacific as a new sub-system in international politics.
- Declining Role of UN: The UN Security Council (UNSC) is the UN’s principal executive body in charge of ensuring international peace and security.
The UNSC’s five permanent members, on the other hand, utilize their veto powers to protect their geopolitical interests, regardless of the devastating implications for victims of armed conflict, as seen in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere.
- UNSC resolution 2593: It was proposed by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, and was enacted after 13 council members voted in favor.
The resolution states that Afghan land should not be used to threaten or attack any country. Nor should it be used to house or train terrorists, or to organize or finance terrorist operations.
It notably mentions the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed groups, as well as people and entities named by UNSC Resolution 1267. (JeM)
The permanent members Russia and China didn’t vote (they do not have veto power). While the other 13 members voted in favor.
CURRENT CHALLENGES FOR INDIAN FOREIGN POLICY
· Aggressive China: At the end of the Cold War, India should boost its multilateral cooperation with China in order to help create the conditions for settling the boundary dispute and expanding bilateral cooperation sectors.
This tactic, however, has proven ineffective, since China has adopted an aggressive posture toward India. Recent Galwan Valley Clashes demonstrate this.
Furthermore, China shields Pakistan from international pressures that India has attempted to mobilize through various forums.
· Compromising Non-Alignment: To confront China, India formed the Quad grouping with like-minded countries (US, India, Japan, and Australia).
However, India’s non-alignment image has been tarnished. As a result of its convergence with the US, and relations with former allies such as Russia have deteriorated.
· The Taliban Takeover: The re-establishment of Taliban control in Afghanistan poses some very major security threats to India.
The difficulties range from safeguarding the country’s development infrastructure to properly removing Indians stranded in Afghanistan.
WAY FORWARD: LEVERAGING NON-PERMANENT MEMBERSHIP
· Becoming Part of the Great Game: The UNSC allows for long-term diplomatic dialogue between major powers, reducing tensions and opening up new avenues for collaboration.
Even in the midst of a broad-based confrontation, the US and China could explore potential common ground, much like the US and USSR did on nuclear proliferation issues during the Cold War.
In this environment, India has the potential to play a larger role in the face of renewed great power rivalry.
In addition, now that India has joined the UN Security Council in the midst of a continuous military stalemate. India may finally expose Chinese aggression in the Ladakh region.
· UNSC Reforms: Since the conclusion of the Cold War, India has demanded that the UNSC be made more “representative.”
In this context, India should continue to work with the G4 (Brazil, Germany, and Japan) to increase the United Nations Security Council and become a permanent member.
· Deepening International Collaboration: India will be able to enhance its new coalitions, such as the Quad, by engaging with peace and security concerns at the UNSC.
In addition, India might utilize its UNSC term to strengthen security cooperation with European partners such as France and Germany.
Despite Russia’s deteriorating troubles with the West and closer links to China, India must maintain an intense conversation with Russia on all international matters.
· Engaging With Global South: India needs to revitalize its engagement with its traditional partners in the “global south” by articulating their peace and security concerns in the UNSC. In this context, two sub-groups of the global south should be of particular interest.
1. Small Island States: Global warming and increasing sea levels are posing existential threats to several small island states across the world. They also find it difficult to maintain control over their vast marine holdings. Supporting the island republics’ sovereignty and viability is a critical political task for India.
2. Africa: Peace and security in Africa is the subject of nearly half of UNSC sessions, 60% of UNSC publications, and 70% of UNSC resolutions. The African Union holds three seats in the UN Security Council (Kenya, Niger, and Tunisia), and there is regular consultation between the UNSC and the African Union’s Peace and Security Council (PSC) (AU). The UNSC term provides an excellent opportunity for India to step up its bilateral, regional, and global participation on African peace and security challenges.
In addition, India’s foreign policy stance has moved from reactive to proactive. As a result, India’s new tenure in the UN Security Council should be more deliberate and realistic.
Purposefulness entails tying India’s UNSC participation to the country’s larger national objectives. Pragmatism necessitates responding to changing circumstances at the UNSC while also avoiding unduly ambitious ambitions.
In the next article, we will be discussing about UNSC Reforms in detail and its significance for India.