In a speech delivered to Chatham House, a London-based think tank, on June 28, 2023, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly reiterated its call for UN Reform and supported India’s bid for the permanent member of the powerful United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
India has been at the forefront of the years-long effort to reform the UNSC, saying that it rightly deserves a place as the Permanent Member of the United Nations. Currently, the UN has five permanent members USA, Russia, UK, France, and China.
Cleverly said, “I have five transnational priorities. First is the reform of the UNSC. We want to see permanent African representation and membership extended to India, Brazil, Germany, and Japan.”
“I know that this is a bold reform. But it will usher the UNSC into the 2020s. The UNSC has grown before, albeit not since 1965. My second priority is the reform of the international financial institutions. This matter for climate finance, and of course, for poverty reduction,” he said.
The British Foreign Minister also appreciated India’s role and presidency of the G-20 in pitching for representation of poorer third-world countries on the global stage. He continued, saying, “It seems obvious to me that the voices of the poorest of the poor and vulnerable countries must be heard at the heart of the multilateral system. That is why we support the permanent membership of the African Union and welcome India’s leadership in taking this forward.”
Among the other priorities for the UK, which Cleverly highlighted, include making finance easier and quicker to access and maximizing the impact of the investment. He also stressed that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) desperately needs new rules that reflect today’s digital economy to make trade policy free, fair, open, and not dismantled or distorted.
The Minister spelt out another priority, such as Artificial Intelligence and Quantum computing, which can potentially transform humankind’s problem-solving capabilities. “I will chair the UNSC’s first meeting on this issue in New York next month. The British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will host an AI summit this autumn,” said Cleverly.
India rightfully derives the permanent seat at the UNSC for the following reasons- Firstly, India is a founding member of the UN, Secondly, it has deployed peacekeeping forces five times that of the P-5 countries. Being the largest democracy and the fastest-growing economy supplements and boosts India’s efforts for a seat at the UNSC.
Moreover, India has acquired a Nuclear Weapon State Status and has signed important export control regimes such as Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and Wassenaar Arrangement. India is also the undisputed leader of the Third World nations. Currently, India is categorised as a “Middle Power” or an emerging power in international politics.
Apart from the UK, France, Russia, and the United States of America (USA) have supported the cause of India’s permanent membership and seat at the UNSC. India faces a few challenges for a permanent seat at the UNSC. The first roadblock comes from the Peoples Republic of China.
The Communist Country has always used its veto power to stonewall India’s efforts for a permanent seat at the UN. The Chinese do not realise that India was one nation that supported its membership in the UNSC as a permanent member in the 1950s
Secondly, many critics say that India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Thirdly, India’s capability to project its military power beyond the Indian Ocean Region and become a blue-water naval force is to be tested.
When India became independent in 1947, it was offered a chance to join the UNSC by the superpowers of the bipolar world, i.e., the US and USSR. However, due to the Cold War Politics and India’s pursuit of non-alignment came its way to membership. Nevertheless, India is a non-permanent member of the UNSC.