India and the struggle at the Security Council

India has been a critical part of the United Nations ever since its conception. Yet, after countless tries to be a permanent member it has been denied every single time. Is it time to give up?

While it is arguable that India has completely given up its bid for being a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, there has been a noticeable decline in their urgency to join it.

This decline can be traced back a couple of years to when it started. Though there is no official report or statistic of this, I observed the movement going passive in 2013.

There are a few reasons for this-

  1. Voting– As a general rule of the United Nations, the inclusion of a permanent member in UNSC would only happen with the support of a) 2/3s of the General Assembly (basically 2/3s of all 193 countries) and b) the support of all P5 members. While the first may be relatively easy to obtain, the second criteria is what breaks things. If any one country uses their veto (says no) then the bid is declined by default. While USA, France and UK have shown subtle signs of acceptance for India on the council, China remains relatively in denial.
  1. G4 Nations– It’s hard to say whether or not the G4 alliance has brought India any considerable gain in recent years. The G4 nations comprising Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan are four countries which support each other’s bids for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council. The group has an underlying philosophy that were there to be any inclusion of permanent members in the UN it would either be the entire G4 or none of it. This limits India considerably as China opposes the inclusion of Japan, which is a part of the G4 and therefore, opposes the G4 as a whole. As aforementioned, no decision can be taken without a P5 country’s vote.
  2. Opposition– Despite their support base which consists approximately of 90 countries, there is still significant opposition to India and the G4. This is carried out most significantly by Uniting for Consensus. Uniting for Consensus (UfC) is a movement, nicknamed the Coffee Club, that developed in the 1990s in opposition to the possible expansion of permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council. Under the leadership of Italy, it aims to counter the bids for permanent seats proposed by G4 nations. There are around 15 members here which opposes India’s bid. While this wouldn’t necessarily present a struggle in terms of votes, it would definitely be a political obstacle, especially considering that the group has members such as Canada, South Korea, Italy and Spain.

More than anything else, the aforementioned reasons have pretty much blocked India’s entry for now. Unless China supports India and the G4 group, the political situation is bound to be like this for quite some time.

By Manas Chawla

Originally published at

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