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The importance of the UNSC seat

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India was recently elected as a non-permanent member of the UNSC for a two-year term starting 2021. The move supported by 184 of the 192 countries went to show the overwhelming support India has at the global stage. And while that is certainly good news, the much-coveted permanent seat still remains a dream. In today's post, we explore this and more in greater detail.

The structure of the UNSC

The UNSC has 15 members, comprised of 5 permanent members (US, Russia, China, France and UK) and 10 nonpermanent members, 5 of whom are elected each year for a two year cycle with a country needing the approval of two-thirds of the countries to be selected as a non-permanent member. India has been elected in this fashion in 7 previous instances starting in 1950!

The UNSC is responsible for mediating security crisis across the globe and has a dedicated peacekeeping force (to which India has historically been one of the largest contributors) that can mediate in international conflict when directed.

Why the permanent seat is important

The permanent members of the UNSC have veto power on the resolutions that the UNSC passes. This makes it possible for them to veto anything that could be detrimental to either itself or its allies. Surprisingly though, China hasn't been the largest user of the veto power in the UNSC, and its usage at 9 times pales in comparison to Russia which has used it 128 times!

China, despite the visibly low number, however, is important to us because it is the only member of the 5 who is both a direct neighbour as well as an adversary.

A seat India deserves

India's permanent seat to the UNSC, both as a rising Asian economic power, and the world's largest democracy has been supported by almost all countries across the globe barring the usual suspects. Other than its own merit, India has also been a making significant contributions to the US peacekeeping force and has been consistently amongst the highest contributors there. We are currently the fourth largest contributor to the peacekeeping force with more than 6000 soldiers.

While the other four members of the UNSC continue to back India's addition, China is the last stop between us and the seat. And with the conflict at a high between the two countries for now, support will be increasingly hard to come by, atleast in the medium term, despite attempts at mediation.


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