India Seeking Feedback from Nations on Push for Reform at UN High Table

With BRICS, which has three self-proclaimed candidates for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, unable to issue a strong statement on reforming the UN high table, India will be “testing the waters” to see if a push can be made to bring a resolution next year.

Published: 21st July 2014 08:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st July 2014 08:29 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: With BRICS, which has three self-proclaimed candidates for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, unable to issue a strong statement on reforming the UN high table, India will be “testing the waters” to see if a push can be made to bring a resolution next year.

“We have been speaking to a number of countries to get their feedback on whether they will support any resolution. So far, it is largely positive,” said a senior government official.

With eyes set on 2015, India had gone into negotiations for the summit declaration with a stronger position on Security Council reforms as one of its priorities. Amid the euphoria over BRICS setting up a New Development Bank, it became clear that China and Russia continue to have a higher say on political issues, as evidenced by the perfunctory statement on the reforms.

The Fortaleza document, underlining the work of the sixth BRICS summit, dutifully had a paragraph on United Nations reforms, but as before, it was essentially a rehash of the last five declarations.

That India sought stronger support was made public before the BRICS summit started. “We will of course be hoping for an endorsement of the need for Security Council reforms. I think that is an important issue that we will hope to certainly pursue in the discussions in whatever form,” Ministry of External Affairs Secretary Sujatha Mehta said in answer to a query on India’s key priorities on July 6.

The final declaration, on July 15, could not even include the phrase “Security Council” in the same sentence as the “aspirations” of Brazil, India and South Africa - members of G4.

Despite G4 countries being in a majority within BRICS, it was clear that China and Russia had got their way in the declaration -- illustrating once again how strident the opposition is. China will not be able to vouchsafe Japan into the Security Council, while Russia, despite its public posture, doesn’t want to see an expanded council which will dilute its global power.

The declaration dashed hopes, if there were any, of making China and Russia soften their position before 2015, which G4 has been seeing almost as the  last hope. 2015 will be the 70th year of the formation of the United Nations.

There will be a workshop of director-general level officers of G4 foreign ministries in Japan soon, followed by the meeting of foreign ministers on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Meanwhile, in New Delhi, the new leadership has not yet spelt out how important a seat at the UN high table is within its foreign policy vision. It didn’t figure in the President’s address to Parliament. Neither was it mentioned in the BJP manifesto.

India, along with G4, had brought a framework resolution on the expansion of the Security Council twice -- 2005 and 2011 -- but never put it to vote.

Excerpts from brics declarations on UN reforms

2009-In this respect we reaffirm the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN with a view to making it more efficient so that it can deal with today's global challenges more effectively. We reiterate the importance we attach to the status of India and Brazil in international affairs, and understand and support their aspirations to play a greater role in the United Nations.

2010- In this respect, we reaffirm the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN, with a view to making it more effective, efficient and representative, so that it can deal with today's global challenges more effectively. We reiterate the importance we attach to the status of India and Brazil in international affairs, and understand and support their aspirations to play a greater role in the United Nations.

2011 -In this respect, we reaffirm the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more effective, efficient and representative, so that it can deal with today's global challenges more successfully. China and Russia reiterate the importance they attach to the status of India, Brazil and South Africa in international affairs, and understand and support their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN.

2012-In this regard, we reaffirm the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more effective, efficient and representative so that it can deal with today's global challenges more successfully. China and Russia reiterate the importance they attach­­ to the status of Brazil, India and South Africa in international affairs and support their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN

2013- In this regard, we reaffirm the need for a comprehensive reform of the ­UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more representative, effective and efficient, so that it can be more responsive to global challenges. In this regard, China and Russia reiterate the importance they attach to the status of Brazil, India and South Africa in international affairs and support their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN.

2014-We recall the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document. We reaffirm the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more representative, effective and efficient, so that it can adequately respond to global challenges. China and Russia reiterate the importance they attach to Brazil, India and South Africa's status and role in international affairs and support their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN.

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