Reforming the UN Security Council
India, Japan, Brazil and Germany have closed ranks to collectively lobby for seats for each other at the (expanded) UN Security Council. They have also called for an African member to join their ranks.
Pakistan opposes India, but could not care less if the others get in. China is uncomfortable with both India and Japan, and seems to have tried to divide the two by suggesting that it would be willing to support India if India were to stop backing Japan’s candidature. Italy opposes Germany. Brazil is not the unequivocal representative from Latin America. The Africans are unable to decide between South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria. But opposition from other countries is not a good criteria for selection – it is hard to see how the current permanent members will fare in a popularity contest.
Getting a two-thirds majority in the fractious 191-member General Assembly is no easy task, but it is not as important as support from the existing members of the UN Security Council. Apart from Britain, no other permanent member has expressed support for India’s bid.
The UN is clearly in a dilemma – the current composition of the UN Security Council is bound to become an albatross around the UN quest for greater relevance, but reforming it is near impossible due to its fractious membership. As is its practice, the UN may solve this by adopting half-measures – a semi-permanent five-year membership has been mooted.
There is some debate as to whether India should indeed lobby for a seat on the Security Council. The debate should really be about what India intends to do with a permanent seat, because there are no really good reasons why it should not have one.
Islamic countries who support Indiaâ€™s bid and have agreed to impress Pakistan are Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Tunisia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Algeria, Oman, Qatar, Iran, and Indonesia.
India decided to approach them after Pakistanâ€™s representative to the UN opposed Indiaâ€™s permanent membership in the Security Council.
Officials said that foreign minister Natwar Singh has advised prime minister Manmohan Singh to conduct more meetings with these countries on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.
In Manmohanâ€™s one-to-one meeting with Pakistanâ€™s General Parvez Musharraf, this subject is unlikely to come up, and India does not wish to speak directly to Pakistan on this, but officials said the PM would drop broad hints in return for deeper friendship. (sic)
While the Arab League and OIC have no objection to Indiaâ€™s permanent entry into the Security Council, Islamic states are pushing for either Malaysia or Nigeria in place of India, but they are implacably opposed to Turkeyâ€™s bid. [News Insight]