India, which has been at the forefront of global efforts at the UN to push for urgent reform of the Security Council, has asserted without ambiguity that it rightly deserves a place at the UN high table as a permanent member.
Making a strong pitch for the same, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said In Sydney on Tuesday, Oct 11, that – “….it’s something which has to be done. Otherwise, we will end up, frankly, with an increasingly irrelevant United Nations”.
However, he added at the same breadth, “We completely understand that this is not something which is going to be done easily”.
He maintained that the United Nations Security Council reforms is like a “hard nut”, but Dr Jaishankar, considered one of the best diplomats on global stage, asserted that hard nuts too can be cracked.
“It’s a hard nut, but hard nuts can be cracked,” Dr Jaishankar exuded a self-confidence while responding to a question on UN Security Council reforms.
The Minister made the remarks while responding to questions after his address at the Lowy Institute on the growing importance of India’s relationship with Australia, especially in the context of Quad.
The Quad on Indo-Pacific was floated in 2017 November in the Philippines when the US, India, Japan and Australia joined hands. Among others, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the then US President Donald Trump attended the summit meet of the four nations on the sidelines of ASEAN Summit at Manila.
Dr Jaishankar said that there are continents which actually feel that the Security Council (UNSC) process does not take into account that into their problems.
“I think that’s hugely damaging to the UN. So one of the developments this time, in fact, has been a very explicit recognition by President Joe Biden of the need to actually reform the UN which is not a small development, but we need to get it because we all know why reform has been blocked for so many years,” he said.
The UNSC now comprises five permanent members and 10 non-permanent member countries, which are elected for a two-year term by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The five permanent members are Russia, the UK, China, France and the United States and these countries may veto powers that empower them to prevent any resolution.
There has been growing demand to increase the number of permanent members to reflect the contemporary global reality.
India’s claim is justified as it is now world’s fifth top economy and one-fifth of global population is in India.
On India-US relationship, Dr Jaishankar, who has served in various countries as India’s envoy, said the bilateral ties started changing during President Bill Clinton’s second term and added that the last five US presidents were consistent in the manner in which they sought to engage India.
He also said President Biden, who has been around for a long time, has “seen the evolution of the relationship”.
On India-Australia ties, Jaishankar said that he was the sixth Indian minister to visit Canberra after the Labour government came to power, and that in itself should tell something about the seriousness with which New Delhi approaches this relationship.
“We passed a milestone with the conclusion earlier this year of a Free Trade Agreement, which is currently under the process of ratification,” he said.