Research Journal Social Sciences, Vol 19, No.

2, 2011

United Nations and Indian Ocean Region: a case for India’s permanent seat in the Security Council
Khalid, Mohammed
Abstract Founded on October 24, 1945, United Nations aims to maintain international peace and security develop friendly relations among nations and promote social progress, better living standards and human rights in the world. Of its five organs, Security Council is the most important which has five permanent members --USA, UK, France, Russia and China—who have veto power. The system of representation in the Security Council is flawed as it does not represent contemporary international realities. There is need and strong demand to reform and restructure the UN Security Council. Some newly emerging powers such as Brazil, Germany, Japan, and India have grouped together with the aim to secure permanent membership of the Security Council. Indian Ocean is a vast geographical region but does not have permanent membership in the Security Council. This paper build a strong case legitimate case for permanent membership of as it is not only second largest population in the world; but has largest economy and navy in the region and played a crucial role in resolution of a number of conflicts worldwide and has worldwide support including that of four permanent members of the Security Council. The United Nations was founded after the Second World War to maintain international peace and security develop friendly relations among nations and promote social progress, better living standards and human rights. According to its Charter, United Nations can take action on a wide range of issues, and provide a forum to the member states to express their views, through the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and its other organs. United Nations works in every corner of the world not only for peacekeeping, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance, but also for fundamental issues such as sustainable development, environment and refugees protection,


disaster relief, counter terrorism, disarmament and non-proliferation, to promote democracy, human rights, gender equality, economic and social development international health, and food security etc.(Fasulo 2003, Schlesinger 2003 and Weiss and Daws 2007) United Nations came into existence on October 24, 1945, after its Charter was ratified by the five permanent members of the Security Council (the Republic of China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and a majority of the other signatories. Of its 51 original members (founding members), 50 signed the Charter at the United Nations Conference on International Organization in San Francisco on 26 June 1945, while Poland, which was not represented at the conference, signed it on 15 October 1945. As more countries became sovereign and independent they joined the United Nations and its number has reached to 192 at present.(Glassner 1998); (Rasche and Kell, 2010). Any peace-loving state could become a member of the United Nations provided it accepted the obligations contained in the Charter and in the judgment of the Organization, is able and willing to carry out these obligations. United Nations functions through five (formerly six, including Trusteeship Council) principal organs; the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Secretariat, and the International Court of Justice. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the principal organs of the United Nations charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. It carries peacekeeping operations, establish international sanctions, and can authorize military action. The Security Council consists of 15 member states, consisting of 5 permanent members --China, France, and Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States-- and 10 nonpermanent members elected by the General assembly for two years term --five retiring each year. The non-permanent members are chosen by regional groups and confirmed by the General Assembly. With the process of decolonization more states became independent and thus members of the United Nations. They
subsequently demanded for reforms in representation to the Security Council. At

its eighteenth


session, in 1963, the Assembly decided (resolution 1991 A (XVIII)) that the nonpermanent members of the Council should be elected such as; five from African and Asian States; one from Eastern European states; two from Latin American states; two from Western European and other states. Of these members, one is an "Arab country," alternately from the Asian or African bloc. As a result, the number of non-permanent members was increased from six to 10 on January 1, 1966. In the UN system, Security Council is so organized as to be able to function continuously, and a representative of each of its members is present at all times at United Nations Headquarters. When a complaint concerning a threat to peace is brought before it, the Council undertakes investigation and mediation and passes necessary resolutions to restore peace. Each of its members is entitled to one vote. On all procedural matters, decisions by the council are made by an affirmative vote of any nine of its members. Substantive matters, such as the investigation of a dispute or the application of sanctions, also require nine affirmative votes, including those of the five permanent members holding veto power. To establish peace, the Security Council first explores the possibility of a peaceful resolution, and then sends peacekeeping forces to keep warring parties apart pending further negotiations. If the council finds that there is a real threat to peace, a breach of peace, or an act of aggression, it may call upon UN members to apply diplomatic or economic sanctions. If these methods prove inadequate, the UN Charter allows the Security Council to take military action against the offending country. (Schweigman, 2000). United Nations Charter was shaped by the winner states of the Second World War in their national interests, giving themselves the veto-power. It reflects the global power structure of 1945, when most of today's nations were still under colonial rule. The five principal World War II allies clung to their privileged
status. They probably would not have accepted the creation of the United Nations without the veto privilege. The arrangement with power to veto has made the Council both undemocratic and many a times ineffective. The veto-wielding permanent members prevent many


issues from reaching the Council's agenda and they often selfishly bar widelyagreed and much-needed initiatives. This power has been intensely controversial since the drafting of the UN Charter in 1945. The permanent members can exercise veto power over substantive but not procedural resolutions allowing them to block adoption but not to block the debate of a resolution unacceptable to them. The presidency of the Security Council is rotated alphabetically each month amongst the members of the Security Council. (Alger, 2006 and Sarooshi, 1999) The five permanent members do not allow the passing of any resolution in the Security Council which is detrimental to their interests. With their influence they have thwarted the election of members to the Security Council who are nonagreeable even if they have grown in their stature over the years. Some of the countries who have emerged as important economic powers in the recent times are also denied their legitimate claim to be permanent members of the Council. Permanent membership of the Security Council has remained stagnant at 5 thus denying judicious representation to some important states. (Weiss, 2003; Kochler, 1991; Malone & Mahbubani, 2004). Sixty-five years later, the debate on the existence and use of the veto continues, reinvigorated by many cases of vetothreat as well as actual veto use. It is the importance of Security Council in world affairs that makes its membership coveted and sought after. A sea change in global power structure has occurred with the emergence of new powerful players on the world scene but order of representation in this powerful body remains seriously flawed which calls for inclusion of more permanent members in the Security Council. (Deccan Herald, 2004), and Gardiner and Brett Schaefer, 2005), Gross imbalance in representation of some very important geographical regions in the world in the Security Council also calls for an immediate restructuring of the Security Council. Here we take up the case of under representation of the countries of the Indian Ocean littoral and India’s rightful claim to a permanent seat in the Security Council. At the time of formation of Security Council, Australia, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Saudi
Arabia, and South Africa became the original signatories to the UN Charter and became members


of United Nations from the Indian Ocean littoral. After many countries gained independence and became members of the United Nations, now 28 littoral and 6 island states Indian Ocean are members of the United Nations. Table below shows the date of entry of these countries in the United Nations.

Table-1 Indian Ocean Countries: Date of Joining UNO
Country to UN Egypt 24 October 1945 Somalia 20 September 1960 Iran 24 October 1945 Tanzania 14 December 1961 Saudi Arabia 24 October 1945 Kuwait 14 May 1963 India 30 October 1945 Kenya 16 December 1963 Australia 1 November 1945 Maldives 21 September 1965 South Africa 7-11-1945 Singapore 21 September 1965 Ethiopia 13 November 1945 Mauritius 24 April 1968 Iraq 21 December 1945 Bahrain 21 September 1971 Thailand 16 December 1946 Qatar 21 September 1971 Yemen 30 September 1947 Oman 7 October 1971 Pakistan 30 September 1947 UAE 9 December 1971 Myanmar 19 April 1948 Bangladesh 17 September 1974 Israel 11 May 1949 Mozambique 16 September 1975 Indonesia 28 September 1950 Comoros 12 November 1975 Jordan 14 December 1955 Seychelles 21 September 1976 Sri Lanka 14 December 1955 Djibouti 20 September 1977 Sudan 12 November 1956 Eritrea 28 May 1993 Malaysia 17 September 1957 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Source: Information collated from,

Date of Admission to UN


Date of Admission

Non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council is of immense importance as it provides a country the opportunity for two years to be among those countries that decide on all the most important issues in global policy. Presence and participation in the activities of the UN Security Council is particularly important for maintaining balance within the Security Council. It is matter of pride and privilege to be member of the Security Council. Terms served


by the countries of Indian Ocean on the UN Security Council is shown in table below. Table-2 Countries of Indian Ocean Region who became non-permanent members of the Security Council since 1946 Country Australia Bahrain Bangladesh Sri Lanka 1 Comoros -Djibouti Egypt Eritrea Ethiopia Kenya India Indonesia Iran Iraq Jordan Kuwait Madagascar Malaysia Maldives Mauritius Mozambique Myanmar Oman Pakistan 6 Qatar Saudi Arabia Seychelles Singapore Somalia South Africa Sudan 1 Years of their membership 1946 – 1947; 1956 – 1957; 1973 – 1974; 1985 – 1986 1998 – 1999 1979 – 1980; 2000 – 2001 1960 – 1961 ----1993 – 1994 1946; 1949 – 1950; 1984 – 1985; 1996 – 1997 -------1967 – 1968; 1989 – 1990 1973 – 1974, 1997 – 1998 1950 – 1951; 1967 – 1968; 1972 – 1973; 1977 – 1978; 1984 – 1985; 1991 – 1992; 2011 – 2012 1973 – 1974; 1995 – 1996; 2007 – 2008 1955 – 1956 1957 – 1958, 1974 – 1975 1965 – 1966, 1982 – 1983 1978 – 1979 1985 – 1986 1965, 1989 – 1990, 1999 – 2000 -----1977 – 1978, 2001 – 2002 ----------1994 – 1995 1952 – 1953, 1968 – 1969, 1976 – 1977, 1983 – 1984, 1993 – 1994, 2003 – 2004 2006 – 2007 ----------2001 – 2002 1971 – 1972 2007 – 2008, 2011 – 2012 1972 – 1973 1 4 -2 2 7 3 1 2 2 1 1 3 -2 --1 Terms 4 1 2

1 --1 1 2


Tanzania Thailand UAE Yemen

1975 – 1976, 2005 – 2006 1985 – 1986 1986 – 1987 1990 – 1991

2 1 1 1

Source: The Green Papers Worldwide, United Nations Security Council, New York

Among the countries of the region, seven countries were never elected to the Security Council. India, Pakistan and Australia and Egypt have been the most represented countries on the Security Council. South Africa could become a member of the Council only after the end of apartheid there. Saudi Arabia the most important and largest Muslim country in the region has never been elected to the Security Council. Iran an important country of the Persian Gulf could get membership only once in 1955-56 while much smaller countries of the region were elected more than once. Not only there is imbalance in representation to the countries of the region, the equation with the dominant powers --especially Britain and US-- seems to have played an important role in procuring membership to the Council. Non-agreeable mavericks like Iran were deliberately kept out of the Security Council. The countries of the Indian Ocean region that have been represented on the Security Council are shown in Table 3. During its 65 years existence, Indian Ocean region was not represented for 11 times (years) in the Security Council and it was at that time when in 1948 the region witnessed Arab Israel war; in 1954 when CIA-engineered military coup occurs in Guatemala and SEATO was signed in September that year; in 1959 when Dalai Lama fled China and was granted political asylum in India; in 1962 when China invaded India ‘to settle’ its border dispute, and Dutch and Indonesian navies encountered in Etna Bay New Guinea; in 1963 when U.S. and U.S.S.R. signed a treaty banning any atmospheric nuclear tests and Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was ratified by the US Senate; in 1964 when U.S. military forces launch attacks on North Vietnam in response to an alleged attack on a U.S. destroyer off the Vietnamese coast and Turkey attacked Cyprus; 1981 when 52 American hostages were captivated in Iran after the Islamic revolution; and in 1988 when Soviets were forced to leave Afghanistan and Iran-Iraqi war had already begun.


The region was also unrepresented in the Security Council in 2009 and 2010. Non representation as well as less representation to a very important region having largest number of states and during many crucial times is a serious lacuna in the UN system which calls for the restructuring of the Security Council and undertake reforms in this most powerful world body. Table-3 Year wise presence of the countries of Indian Ocean in

UN Security Council
Term 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 Members from Indian Ocean Region Australia, Egypt 1981 Australia 1982 -----1983 Egypt 1984 Egypt, India 1985 India Pakistan 1986 Pakistan ----1987 Iran 1988 Australia, Iran 1989 Australia, Iraq 1990 Iraq 1991 ----1992 Sri Lanka 1993 Sri Lanka 1994 -----1995 -----1996 -----1997 Jordan, Malaysia 1998 Jordan 1999 Ethiopia, India 2000 Ethiopia, India, Pakistan 2001 Pakistan ------2002 Somalia 2003 India, Somalia, Sudan 2004 Australia, Kenya, India, Indonesia, 2005 Sudan 2006 Australia, Kenya, Indonesia, Iraq 2007 Iraq, Tanzania Pakistan, Tanzania 2008 India, Mauritius, Pakistan 2009 -----Jordan Jordan, Pakistan Egypt, India, Pakistan Australia, Egypt, India Madagascar, Thailand Australia, Madagascar Thailand, UAE UAE -----Ethiopia, Malaysia Ethiopia, Malaysia, Yemen India, Yemen India Djibouti, Pakistan Djibouti, Oman, Pakistan Indonesia, Oman Egypt, Indonesia Egypt, Kenya Bahrain, Kenya Bahrain, Malaysia Bangladesh, Malaysia Bangladesh, Mauritius Singapore Mauritius, Singapore Pakistan Pakistan, Tanzania Qatar, Tanzania South Africa, Qatar Indonesia South Africa, Indonesia -------


1978 1979 1980

India, Kuwait, Mauritius Bangladesh, Kuwait Bangladesh

2010 2011

------India, South Africa

Source: UN Security Council website at,

Demand for Security Council reforms Even though the geopolitical realities have changed drastically since 1945, when the set-up of the current Council was decided, the Security Council has changed very little during this long period. It was in 1992 when Boutros BoutrosGhali was elected as Secretary-General of the United Nations that discussions for reforms of the UN Security Council were launched. In January 1992 first-ever summit of the Security Council was held and the Secretary General submitted his proposals which were thereafter published as "An Agenda for Peace" (UNO 1992) His motivation was to restructure the composition and anachronistic procedures of the UN Security Council recognizing the changed world. By 1992, Germany and Japan had become the second and third largest contributor to the United Nations and started to demand a permanent seat on the Security Council. Brazil (fifth largest country in terms of territory) and India (second largest country in terms of population) also emerged as the most powerful countries and key players in their respective regions and began to demand for a permanent seat. This group of four countries formed an interest group later known as the G4 (Global Policy Forum, 2005; The Hindu, 2011). The Security Council today is a body which has France as a permanent member, but not Germany; Britain but not Japan; China but not India and no representation from Africa and Latin America at all. Can it be called a legitimately representative body in modern times? Since 1992 the issue of giving permanent membership of the Council to G4 has been debated in many forums worldwide. Britain, France and Russia support that G4 should be included as permanent members of the Security Council. Italy, together with other countries, has opposed this kind of reform, proposing for introduction of semi-permanent membership. There are regional and local opposition coming from neighbouring countries of G4 countries also. For example, South Korea opposes Japan, Pakistan opposes India, and Mexico and 52

Argentina oppose Brazil. The countries opposed to the proposal have grouped themselves in the so-called ‘Coffee Club’. It is also contended that if G4 members are given permanent membership it may leave over 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide (in the Middle East, north and West Africa to Southeast Asia) without any permanent representation on the UN Security Council. In June 2005, the foreign ministers of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) called for a permanent Muslim seat on the UN Security Council. Many countries from outside the Muslim World argue that a veto-wielding Islamic member could use it to restrict the UN's ability to act forcefully in the Middle East or on the boundaries of the Islamic world, rendering the UN ineffective in those regions. The impression of the lack of democracy in Middle Eastern states that are predominantly Muslim is another reason cited by some Western commentators who argue against the idea of including a Muslim state as veto-wielding permanent member of the Council. They further argue that the inclusion of an Islamic country is the religious aspect which may lead to demand by the other religious nations to provide them with permanent membership in the name of religion such as the Buddhists, the Hindus, and the Jews etc. African countries claim that their continent is the second-largest and second most populous behind Asia and it has more United Nations members than any other continent. Currently, no country from Africa has a permanent seat on the Security Council and they push to have an African nation as permanent member. They also argue that from Asia, China and Russia --which is an Asian power too-already, have seats in the Security Council and Japan and India are petitioning for one each. This will give over-representation to Asia leaving Africa without any permanent representation in the Security Council. United Kingdom, France, and China have supported for more political representation from Africa, though no one nation from Africa has formally been put forward as a candidate for permanent membership of the Security Council. Among the African countries, Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Nigeria are seen as the strong choices. Because of historical reasons, China does not want Japan to become a permanent member of the Security Council. It also has strong reservation against India’s


inclusion as permanent member of the Security Council. If at all India has to be included, it should be without veto power, China contends. (Deccan Herald, 2011; People’s Daily, 2011; and Mohan, 2005). In this scenario, representation to a littoral state of the Indian Ocean to the Security Council must be considered in its rational and geopolitical perspective. Case for Indian Ocean permanent representation in the Security Council Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world oceans covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. Its area including the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf is estimated at 73,556,000 sq. km. (Kaushik, 1983). The region has 34 states consisting 9 states on African littoral, 10 in Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf, 3 in South Asia, 5 in Southeast Asia, 6 island states, and Australia. It has 19 states on its rim land dependent on its waters for trade and commerce. Island republics within the Indian Ocean include Comoros, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Sri Lanka. The Indian Ocean provides major sea routes connecting the Middle East, Africa, and East Asia with Europe and the Americas. Its waters carry one of the busiest trade routes in the world. It carries a particularly heavy traffic of petroleum and petroleum products from the oil fields of the Persian Gulf, Arabian Peninsula and Indonesia. Containing two-third of world’s oil resources, 35% of world’s Gas reserves, 60% of uranium, 40% of gold, 80% of diamond deposits, an estimated 40% of the world's offshore oil production comes from the Indian Ocean region. (Loughlin and Leighton 2010) Its beach sands and offshore deposits are rich in heavy minerals which are actively exploited by bordering countries, particularly India, South Africa, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. The region contains 1/3 of the world’s population, 25% of its landmass; the region is home to most of the world's two great religions, Islam and Hinduism. Most of the ancient civilizations –Babylonian, Egyptian, and Indus-- developed on the shores of the Indian Ocean. On its shores, India and Pakistan are the world’s two


newest nuclear weapons states and Iran which has a robust programme to acquire nuclear weapons. Indian Ocean region contains huge diversity of economies. India is largest with GDP of US$143 billion according to 2010 estimates, followed by Australia with 122 billion making them 11th and 13th largest in the world. Of the 50 largest economies in the world, 12 are in Indian Ocean region. Among them Indonesia ranks at 18, Saudi Arabia at 23, South Africa at 27, Iran at 29, Thailand at 30, UAE at 35, Malaysia at 38, Egypt at 40, Israel at 43 and Pakistan at 47. It has countries with highest per capita income, like Qatar on number 1, Singapore on 4, Australia on 10, Kuwait on 14, and UAE on 18 th position.(IMF, 2010). In addition, the region has one of the key centers of gravity of international terrorism, a key venue for international piracy in western Indian Ocean, and the locus of some 70% of the world’s natural disasters. Politically turbulent, the region has been a potentially explosive theater of superpower rivalry during the Cold War. On its shores Afghanistan is boiling since 1973, when a military coup overturned the two-century-old Afghan kingdom and established the Republic. Pakistan-Afghanistan border region is a hub of terrorist groups which have spelled doom by carrying many lethal terrorist attacks around the world. Ethnic tensions in Sri Lanka have brought one of the most organised internal violent resistances by LTTE. The Region has seen three wars between the Arabs and Israel in 1948, 1967 and 1973, two major wars between India and Pakistan in 1965 and 1971, one war between India and China in 1962, the Iran-Iraq war from 1980 to 1988, and two UN-US sponsored wars on Iraq in 1991 and 1998. There are border disputes and local tensions in the region. Hardly a country in the region is without territorial dispute with its neighbour. There are territorial disputes between South Africa and Swaziland; Ethiopia and Eritrea; Kenya and Uganda; Eritrea and Djibouti; Egypt and Sudan; Kenya and Sudan; Sudan and Uganda; Israel and Syria; Oman and Yemen; Bahrain and Qatar; Kuwait and Saudi Arabia; United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia; Iran and Iraq; Iran and United Arab Emirates; Pakistan and Afghanistan; China and


India; Bangladesh and India; India and Pakistan; India and Sri Lanka; Bangladesh and Burma; Burma and Thailand; Indonesia and Malaysia; Singapore and Malaysia; East Timor and Indonesia; Australia and Indonesia. There are disputes on the ownership of islands in the Indian Ocean between United Kingdom and Mauritius-Seychelles; France and Madagascar-Seychelles-Comoros; France and Comoros. (CIA, 2009) Geographically, Indian Ocean is a region like a close lake and the countries around its littoral have experienced a long and historical common relationship including a long spell of colonial subjugation at the hand of one or the other European power. The countries of the region may have different geography, climate, topography, political and economic systems, they may belong to different religions, beliefs, faiths and races, there may be ethnic or territorial disputes among them, Indian Ocean provides them a commonality that no other region has. Despite its immense geopolitical importance, Indian Ocean region has been devoid of permanent representation in the Security Council since 1945. This deficiency needs to be rectified now. A case for India’s permanent seat in the Security Council Of the 28 littoral and 6 island republics in the Indian Ocean, South Africa, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, India, Indonesia and Australia stand out as potential claimants of permanent seat in the UN Security Council. Among them, South Africa was one of the 51 founding member of the United Nations. The United Nations General Assembly on 12 November 1974 suspended South Africa from participating in its work, due to international opposition to its policy of apartheid. South Africa was re-admitted to the UN in 1994 following its transition into a democracy. Twelve years after re-admittance, South Africa was endorsed by the African Union (AU) and subsequently it was elected as a non-permanent member of the Security Council during 2007-2008. It has again been elected for the term 2011-12. From the African continent Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa are the main contenders to represent Africa as permanent members of the Security Council. Egypt is African, Arab and a Muslim country and a long standing ally of


United States. Egypt stands a better chance vis-à-vis South Africa who is young and less experienced member of the UN. Saudi Arabia is the most important country in the Muslim world in terms of religion. Saudi Arabia has never been elected to the Security Council so far. Neither has it expressed any desire to become a permanent member of the Security Council. Iran is the largest and most powerful country of the Persian Gulf. It has big power ambitions and has embarked upon its nuclear programme despite warnings from the United States and Britain. Since inception of Security Council, Iran was elected only once (in 1955-56) as its non-permanent member. Due to its uncomfortable relations with the West and the US it is unlikely that Iran could get a chance to become a permanent member of the Security Council. Nor Iran has expressed its desire to become so. Indonesia has potential to become the UN Security Council permanent member and it seeks to play a role in the UNSC that is commensurate with its standing in the world. A rising economy, Indonesia claims to be the third largest democracy and home to the world’s largest Muslim population. If both India and Indonesia run for a permanent seat on the Security Council, India stands to get more support worldwide as President Barak Obama expressed during his visit to Indonesia in 2010. (Adamrah, 2010) Australia too does not have any ambitions to be a permanent member of the Security Council. Australia is a core member of the Western alliance system rather an extension of the West in Indian Ocean region. Australia has expressed its support for India’s candidature for permanent membership of the Security Council. This leaves us to defend India’s case to be a permanent member of UN Security Council from the Indian Ocean region. India was among the original members of the United Nations that signed the Declaration by United Nations at Washington on 1 January 1942 and also participated in the historic UN Conference of International Organization at San Francisco from 25 April to 26 June 1945. India views that United Nations is an important guarantee for maintaining international peace and security and strengthening the United Nations has been a key principle of India’s foreign


policy after independence. India stood at the forefront during the UN's efforts to end colonialism and apartheid, its efforts towards global disarmament, ending of the arms race, and creation of a more equitable international economic order. India was on the forefront to declare Indian Ocean a "zone of peace” during the Cold War. (Pant, 2009; Kumar, 1984; International Peace Academy, 1986; and Kumar, 2000). An active member of the UN, India has made notable contributions to the General Assembly and other organs. In 1953, India’s Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit was elected first woman President of the UN General Assembly. As a prominent member of the Non-Aligned Movement, India had traditionally represented the interests of the developing nations in United Nations. In the early 1950s, India advocated for China’s legitimate claim for permanent seat in the UN. India's mediatory role in resolving the stalemate over prisoners of war in Korea led to the signing of the armistice ending the Korean War. India chaired the five-member Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission while the Indian Custodian Force supervised the process of interviews and repatriation that followed. The UN entrusted Indian armed forces with subsequent peace missions in the Middle East, Cyprus, and the Congo (now Zaire). India also served as chair of the three international commissions for supervision and control for Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos established by the 1954 Geneva Accords on Indochina. India also has served as a member of many UN bodies --including the Economic and Social Council, the Human Rights Commission, and the Disarmament Commission-- and on the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. It also played a prominent role in articulating the economic concerns of developing countries in such UN-sponsored conferences as the triennial UN Conference on Trade and Development and the 1992 Conference on the Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. Other issues, such as sustainable development and the promotion and protection of human rights, have also been an important focus of India's foreign policy in international forums. India supports UN to play an active role in ensuring global counter-terrorism cooperation; in particular, the conclusion of the continuing negotiations on a Comprehensive Convention on


International Terrorism. (Thakur, 2007 and Sawant, 2010). India believes that the United Nations must undertake reforms that will make it truly representative while enhancing its credibility and effectiveness. In particular, the composition of the Security Council needs to change thereby reflecting contemporary realities. This calls for, in the short-term a new international initiative to bring structural reform in the Security Council. Apart from its prominent role in United Nations, India has shown its presence effectively on world stage in different ways. India is part of G8+5 group of industrialized nations. It has been an active member of the Group of 77, and later of the G-15 nations. It is the founder of the policy of Non-Alignment and has played the most effective role to popularize it to make it a movement in the world. To integrate with the Indian Ocean world, India conceptualized its ‘Look East Policy’ to extend its economic cooperation with the countries of Southeast Asia and be part of Asia-Pacific. It became a sectoral dialogue partner of ASEAN in 1992 and its full dialogue partner 1995. India is also a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) since 1996 apart from an active member of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) and SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Area). India has an elaborate ‘Focus Africa’ policy to develop cooperation with South Africa, Nigeria, Mauritius, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana and Ethiopia apart from organizing India-Africa Summit in 2008. The Gulf Cooperation Council is already eying to make India as its Strategic Partner. India is one of the Strategic Partners of European Union (EU). India has signed Free Trade Area (FTA) agreements with many countries of the Indian Ocean region and with economic group like ASEAN. With roughly 1.32 million active standing army, 2.14 million reserve forces and 1.3 million paramilitary forces, India has third-largest active troops in the world. India armed forces have been helping the countries of Indian Ocean in peace operations such as it sent Indian Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990. When some sea-born mercenaries tried to take over the island state of Maldives, Indian forces (Navy and Air Force) launched military operation


"Operation Cactus”, and successfully squashed the coup attempt and achieved full control of the country. India's intervention was appreciated by other nations such as the United States, Soviet Union, Great Britain and its neighbours Nepal and Bangladesh. Having about 55,000 naval troops and 20,000 strong Coast Guard, India has world’s fifth largest navy and largest in the Indian Ocean. Its navy is well-armed operating one aircraft carrier, over 40 surface combatants, and over a dozen submarines. Indian Naval ships have demonstrated the Navy's emergence as a regionally viable stabilising force. India’s active naval assistance has been sought by many countries on the Ocean littoral such as Mauritius (who requested surveillance of its Exclusive Economic Zone) and Mozambique. Even United States has requested at times to safely escort out its trading ships in and around Malacca straits. (Khalid, 2007; Upadhayaya, 2009) Its ships are permanently deployed in the Gulf of Aden and western Indian Ocean to check Somali sea pirates. Indian Navy’s capacity and capability to check and thwart piracy in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea is well established. India occupies a central position in the Indian Ocean region. India’s claim to justify its demand for a permanent seat also lies in the fact that India has the world's second largest population (every sixth humans in the world is an Indian) and is the world's largest and most vibrant liberal democracy. It is largest economy of the Indian Ocean region, ranking world's eleventh largest and fourth largest in terms of purchasing power parity. India is third largest contributor of troops to United Nations Peacekeeping missions after Bangladesh and Pakistan. India is acknowledged as a technology superpower; a responsible and peaceloving nation with its armed forces firmly under civilian control; a responsible nuclear power with a strong record of non-proliferation; and one of the oldest civilizations and a prolific fountainhead of influential culture and spirituality. World opinion has increasingly advocated permanent membership for India in the UN Security Council. Excerpts from some of the opinions published on the subject in respectable news papers indicate as under;


"Clearly, a seat for India would make the body more representative and democratic. With India as a member, the Council would be a more legitimate and thus a more effective body..." -- Robert Wilcox (International Herald Tribune) "First, as soon as the dust settles in Iraq, we should push for an expansion of the Security Council--with India and Japan as new permanent members" -- Charles Krauthammer (The Washington Post, June 4, 2010) "Sometimes I wish that the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council could be chosen...with a vote by the fans... Then the perm-five would be Russia, China, India, Britain and the United States. That's more like it. India is the world's biggest democracy, the world's largest Hindu nation and the world's second-largest Muslim nation" --Thomas Friedman. (The New York Times, February 9, 2003.) Recognising India’s growing importance in the world as well as Indian Ocean, President Bush had said in the National Security Strategy of the United States of America released in September 2002, that: "The United States has undertaken a transformation in its bilateral relationship with India based on a conviction that U.S. interests require a strong relationship with India. We are the two largest democracies, committed to political freedom protected by representative government. India is moving toward greater economic freedom as well. We have a common interest in the free flow of commerce, including through the vital sea-lanes of the Indian Ocean. Finally, we share an interest in fighting terrorism and in creating a strategically stable Asia." (Bush, 2002). Representative Frank Pallone (founder of India Caucus in the US Congress) introduced House Resolution 108 in the United States House of Representatives, supporting a permanent seat for India in the United Nations Security Council on February 26, 2003.


Frank Pallone stated: "I believe it is morally wrong to ignore the voice of over one billion Indian people in security decision-making that affects them, and the rest of the world. India's location, its large population, its history of participating in U.N. peacekeeping operations, and its leadership in the non-alignment movement all justify its bid for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. All five members of the UN Security Council must realize that having India as a permanent security council member will give the South Asia region a stabilizing force, helping peace efforts in Central Asia and all parts of our increasingly connected world. The United States should follow the lead of one of its most important allies and endorse a permanent seat for India in the United Nations Security Council." During his visit to India in 2010 President Obama offered his support for India to become a permanent member of the Council. Addressing the Indian Parliament he said “I look forward to a reformed United Nations Security Council that includes India as a permanent member.” ((Hindustan Times, November 8, 2010). Describing India as a rising global power and appreciating it as a strong democratic ally, Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings introduced a bipartisan resolution in the House of Representatives on February 17, 2011, expressing support to India to be permanent member of the Security Council. This is a qualitative shift in US position who had earlier been calling India a “natural choice” for a permanent seat. With this support India became the only country to have the endorsement of four of the five existing permanent members of the Security Council. Other permanent members of Security Council like Britain, France, and Russia have also supported India’s claim to the Council as a permanent member. British Prime Minister Robert Brown during his last visit to India supported India's permanent seat on an expanded UN Security Council. While speaking to the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Federation of Indian


Chambers of Commerce, he said: “We can and must do more to make our global institutions more representative… It is amazing to see first hand the astonishing pace of change in India…There is a prize for all of us in a confident 21st century India, working with a confident 21st century Britain in a partnership of equals.” (The Economic Times, January 21, 2008) During his visit to India in December 2010, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for a permanent seat for India in the U.N. Security Council. In his address at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), he said “It was unthinkable that a country of a billion people should have no representation in the Security Council”, and that “India's recent election to the Security Council for two years must serve as the prelude to a permanent Indian presence within the UNSC.” (Hindustan Times, December 4, 2010) Russia has backed India’s claim for a permanent seat on a reformed United Nations Security Council. During his visit to New Delhi in December 2010, President of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev said that UN Security Council reform should be carried out in a manner that reflects contemporary realities and makes the council more effective in dealing with present-day and emerging challenges. He said that the “Russian Federation supports India as a deserving and strong candidate for a permanent seat in an expanded UN security council.” (GOI, 2010). German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder during his visit to India in October 2004 remarked after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that Germany will support India in its efforts to gain a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council.25 Even arch-rival China said that it understood and supported India’s desire to play a greater role in the UN. During his visit to New Delhi in December 2010, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao supported India’s aspiration of a greater role in the UN. This support didn’t however amount to unequivocal support for India’s bid for a permanent seat; it simply supported


India for ‘greater participation’.(GOI, 2010) African Union consisting of 53 African states (which includes many states of the Indian Ocean region like Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan and Tanzania) has extended its support to India for a seat in the Security Council. 27 Also, several countries and such as Australia, Bangladesh, Chile, Czech Republic, have supported India's candidacy for a permanent seat in Security Council. Among the littoral states of the Indian Ocean South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Malaysia, Maldives, Indonesia, and Australia have supported India’s claim for a seat in UN Security Council. India began to emerge as a global economic player in 1990s and in 1998 India arrived on the global stage in a big way with the testing of a nuclear missile. It has been elected seven times to the UN Security Council, and has served for the most number of years as a non-permanent member from the region. The year 2010 marked the widespread global acceptance of India as a major player in global affairs as five ‘self-appointed’ global superpowers, along with other nations, expressed support for India’s inclusion as a permanent member in an expanded United Nations Security Council. If India becomes a permanent member of the Security Council, it will fulfill a demand long overdue. Permanent seat would give India leverage with other nations inside and outside the Security Council. Above all, it will give representation to a large and very important geopolitical region --the Indian Ocean. References: Adamrah, Mustaqim, ‘US ‘would back India over RI to win UN Security Council seat’, The Jakarta Post, November 10, 2010. Alger, Chadwick F. 2006. The United Nations System: A Reference Handbook, Oxford, ABC-CLIO Ltd Bhaumik, Anirban, ‘China's nuanced response to India's bid for UNSC seat’, Deccan Herald, December 16, 2010


Braun, Deter. 1983. The Indian Ocean, Region of Conflict or ‘Peace Zone’, Delhi, OUP, p.20. Bush, George W, “The National Security Strategy of the United States of America”, Washington, The White House, September 17, 2002. Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post, June 4, 2010; CIA (2009), International Disputes, World Fact Book, Washington, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Deccan Herald (2004), G4 countries push for Security Council Reforms expansion”, Deccan Herald, February 19, 2011; Deccan Herald (2011), “China evasive on Security Council reform issue” Deccan Herald, February 16, 2011; Fasulo, Linda. (2003), An Insider's Guide to the UN, Yale University Press; Frank Pallone (2003), House Resolution 1008 in the United House of representatives, in the United Nations Security Council on February 26, 2003. Also in ‘Why India Should be a permanent member in UN Security Council’, Pakistan Defence, at, affairs/60469 Gardiner, Nile and Brett Schaefer, “U.N. Security Council Expansion Is Not in the U.S. Interest”, at; Glassner, Martin Ira. (1998), The United Nations at work, London, Praeger. Global Policy Forum (2005), “Players and Proposals in the Security Council Debate”, , July 3, Global Policy Forum, July 3, 2005. GOI (2010), Joint Communique of the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China, New Delhi, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, December 16, 2010. GOI (2010), Celebrating a Decade of the India-Russian Federation Strategic Partnership and Looking Ahead, Joint Statement by Prime Minister of India and President of the Russian Fedration, New Delhi, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, December 21, 2010. Harrison, Selig S. and Subrahmanyam K. (1989). Superpower Rivalry in the Indian Ocean: Indian and American Perspectives, Oxford University Press


Hindustan Times, November 8, 2010 Hindustan Times, December 4, 2010 IMF (2010), World Economic Outlook Database Washington D.C, International Monetary Fund. International Peace Academy (1986), The Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace, Faridabad, Kluwer Academic Publishers. Kaushik, Devendra (1983), The Indian Ocean, A Strategic Dimension, Delhi, Vikas, Khalid, Mohammed (2007), “India in the Changing Geopolitics of the Indian Ocean’, Journal of Indian Ocean Studies, Vol.15, No. 1, April 2007, pp.61-78; Köchler, Hans (1991), “The Voting Procedure in the United Nations Security Council”, in Köchler, Hans. 1991. Democracy and International Law. Propositions for an Alternative World Order, New York, Springer; Kumar, Chandra (1984), ‘The Indian Ocean: arc of crises or zone of peace’, International Affairs, Vol. 60, No. 2, pp. 233-246. Kumar, Kamal (2000), Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace: Problems and Prospects, APH Publishing Corporation. Loughlin, Ciaro O’ and Luke, Leighton G. September (2010), ‘Critical Issues In the Indian Ocean Region to 2020’, Strategic Analysis, paper 13. Malone, D & Mahbubani, K (2004), "The UN Security Council – from the Cold War to the 21st Century", UN World Chronicle, March 2004. Mohan Malik, J (2005), “Security Council reform: China signals its veto”, World Policy Journal, Vol. 22, No. 1, Spring, 2005, pp. 19-29; Murthy, C. S. R (2010), ‘UNSC: India's membership and the road ahead’, The Hindu, October 30, 2010; Pant, Harsh V (2009), ‘India in the Indian Ocean: Growing Mismatch between Ambitions and Capabilities’, Pacific Affairs, Volume 82, No. 2, Summer 2009, pp. 279-297; People’s Daily (2011) “China calls for consensus on Security Council Reforms”, People’s Daily, February 14, 2011;


Rasche Andreas and Kell, Georg (2010), The United Nations Global Compact: Achievements, Trends and Challenges, Cambridge University Press; Sarooshi, Dan. (1999), The United Nations and the Development of Collective Security: The Delegation by the UN Security Council of its Chapter VII Powers, Gloucestershire, Clarendon Press. Sawant, Ankush B (Ed). (2010), Sixty years of India's contribution to the United Nations, Delhi, Authorspress. Schlesinger, Stephen (2003), Act of Creation: The Founding of the United Nations, London, Westview Press; Schweigman, David. (2001), The authority of the Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, The Hague, Martinus Nijhoff. SiliconIndia News (2004), “Germany to support India for Security Council Seat”, SiliconIndia News, July 13, 2004, available at,; also reported by Press Trust of India (PTI), October 5, 2004. Thakur, Ramesh, (2007), “India and the United Nations”, The Hindu, August 15, 2007. The Economic Times, January 21, 2008 The Hindu (2011), “G4 nations to press for urgent UNSC reforms”, The Hindu, February 13, 2011. Thomas Friedman (2003), The New York Times, February 9, 2003. UNO (1992). Report of the Secretary-General pursuant to the statement adopted by the Summit Meeting of the Security Council on 31 January 1992. New York, United Nations Publication no.A/47/277 - S/24111, New York, June 17, 1992. Upadhyaya, Shishir (2009), ‘Malacca Strait Security Initiative: Potential for Indian Navy's Participation in the Evolving Regional Security Environment’, Maritime Affairs, Vol. 5, Issue 2, December 2009, pp. 47-67. Weiss, Thomas G, (2003) ‘The Illusion of UN Security Council Reform’, Washington Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 4, Autumn 2003, pp. 147-161; Weiss, Thomas G and Daws, Sam (ed) 2007. The Oxford Handbook on the United Nations, Oxford University Press.


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