At least two generations have grown up watching India’s struggle to get a permanent membership at United Nations Security Council (UNSC). But, recent events indicate that their kids will not have to hunt for news covering India’s entry into P-5 as the US President himself has supported it in UNGA. But, just like everything American, the offer comes off as a political riddle for PM Modi.
US wants India in P-5
During his address to the 2022 edition of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), Joseph Biden reiterated that he is committed to reforming the UNSC. Biden’s speech writers looked more concerned about the misuse of veto powers in the Security Council. The United States wants that veto power should only be used in rare and extraordinary situations, otherwise the Council would become ineffective.
That is one of the many reasons why Uncle Sam has pitched to make the UNSC more inclusive. Quote, “That is also why the United States supports increasing the number of both permanent and non-permanent representatives of the Council. This includes permanent seats for those nations we’ve long supported.”
Later, when a senior official was queried about whether Biden would support India’s entry into the Permanent membership club (in UNSC), he replied in the affirmative. He said, “We have historically and continue to stand behind the idea that Germany, Japan and India should be permanent members of the Security Council.” But the official also cautioned that the journey is not easy and lots of procedural hurdles need to be overcome to secure the coveted spot.
India enjoys a specific stature of its own
It’s not just procedural hurdles that could hamper India’s entry into the club. We are in such a strange time that after decades of fighting for a permanent seat, India’s entry into the club may end up becoming only a formal institutionalisation of India’s clout on the geopolitical stage.
India’s demand for permanent membership in UNSC first accelerated during the early 2000s. During the 10 years of UPA1 and UPA2, a dovish Foreign Policy did just enough to not let the fire behind the smoke die down.
The arrival of PM Modi’s Cabinet changed the scenario. India’s foreign policy establishment suddenly got proactive in getting its demands accepted by countries all across the world. Within no time, India’s clout went up several notches. It has reached such a state that without the inclusion of India, the established superpowers are finding it tough to keep their initiatives like RCEP, IPEF, QUAD, I2U2, BRICS, and many others relevant. Countries like the UK, Australia, and UAE among others are rushing to broker bilateral FTAs with India.
India’s support for Russia is important
Through its soft power diplomacy, India has even been able to take the developing and underdeveloped world on board, making almost half of the UN irrelevant. Recently, its clout was seen in India getting the job done at the WTO. Apparently, India getting more and more countries in its sphere of influence is the reason why the whole of the Western World, and by extension, the United Nations, have been pleading with India to take an anti-Russia stand.
One reason why Russia has been repetitively standing its ground concerning the Ukraine issue is that India has remained overtly neutral on it. Not only that, but India has also increased its economic partnership with Putin’s country. West tried its sam, dam, dand, bhed on India, but could not get favourable outcomes. They only have one option left.
West wants to throw Russia out of the UN
Yes, they want to throw Russia out of the United Nations. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has been the most vociferous supporter of snatching the Veto power from Russia. He reiterated his appeal during his 2022 address to the UNGA. And, if America’s actions are anything to go by, then they are more than eager to work on the directions of Zelenskyy.
The American establishment is not following even basic diplomatic protocols with Russians. Recently, Russian diplomats applied for visas to attend the annual summit of UNGA. Taking advantage of the fact that the UN district is located in its territory, the USA delayed the Visa approval for quite a long time. Days before the beginning of the UNGA meet, a total of 56 Russian visa applications were pending with the US authorities. Eventually, the Russian Foreign Minister did get the Visa, but only after humiliation.
India has a reason to rethink
It won’t be wrong to term diplomatic brawl as a minor manifestation of the West’s plan to expel Russia. Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukrainian Permanent Representative to the UN, and many other experts even pitched for differentiating between Russia and the USSR. The reasoning behind the delineation is that it was the USSR that had got veto power in the UNSC and not Russia. Other legal options are also being pursued.
Apparently, the anti-Russia stand is the reason why India may get a bit apprehensive about getting a permanent membership in the UNSC. If we look at the history of politically independent India, it is Russia that has been standing beside India in times of need. We have even won the Bangladesh liberation War due to explicit support from Russia. The support continued even after the 1991 disintegration of the United Soviet bloc.
Monkey balancing by India
Moreover, at the current juncture of time, India and Russia are strengthening their economic cooperation as well, something which never was a strong pillar of their bond. Rupee-Rouble exchange is now dominating the rooster rather than Dollar. Even in BRICS, both countries along with China are chalking out a plan to release a reserve currency, rendering the Dollar useless in the long term.
The Dollar’s uselessness is what America fears the most. It has been trying to stop this by getting India on its side in initiatives such as IPEF, QUAD, and I2U2. On its part, India did join these initiatives but has continuously refused to take an anti-Russia stand on any issue whatsoever.
West wants issues to flare up
To stir the difference between India and Russia, replacing Russia with India in UNSC is the only option left for the western bloc. They have learned that India won’t go against Russia, so they are vouching for increasing acrimony against India in Russia. The West bloc believes that the moment India will replace Russia in UNSC, Putin will himself start distancing from India.
The US and its allies are banking on suppressed points of concern between India and Russia. Up until now, India has not taken an explicit stand on the Russia-Japan conflict on the Sea of Japan. Russia has also done the same concerning India-China rivalry. For India, both Japan and Russia hold strategic importance, while India and China also enjoy similar stature in the Russian power circle. The Western bloc wants these issues to catch momentum and for them not replacing Russia with India would be a lost opportunity.
The relieving aspect of all this is that India has developed an independent foreign policy of its own, largely on the back of its push towards decreasing dependency on foreign-made goods. India will choose on its own. In the best-case scenario, India will replace Russia but won’t replace Putin’s mindset in the UNSC.
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