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India agrees to 'no veto' for UNSC permanent membership

09 Mar 2017 | By NewsBytes Desk

India's permanent representative to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin, speaking on behalf of the G4 countries - India, Brazil, Germany and Japan, said they were willing to temporarily suspend their veto rights, when elected as permanent members of the UN Security council.

They sought to hasten the expansion of the UNSC.

However the proposition faces stiff opposition from other countries, including Pakistan.

In context: Expanding the United Nations Security Council

UNSC expansionThe UNSC expansion pitch

Currently, there are only five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -US, UK, France, China and Russia.

These five countries take major decisions like UN intervention in war zones and other countries. They also have veto power, so if any one of the five vetoes a decision, the move is called off.

India, Japan, Germany and Brazil seek to be permanent members.

Expansion is must for greater representation

India seeks to expand UNSC permanent membership to improve representation in the apex security body. New permanent membership would ensure 2 seats from Asia, another 2 from Africa, 1 from the Caribbean and Latin America, and 1 from Western Europe.
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Did Nehru reject a permanent seat for India in 1953?

NehruDid Nehru reject a permanent seat for India in 1953?

Reports suggest that Jawaharlal Nehru declined an offer by the US to withdraw Taiwan's permanent membership in the UNSC and give it to India.

According to Shashi Tharoor's book "Nehru - The Invention of India," Nehru asked the US to offer the seat to China instead.

However, according to other reports, Nehru categorically denied this allegation in Parliament on 27 September, 1955.

09 Mar 2017India agrees to 'no veto' for UNSC permanent membership

The VetoWhy is Veto power so important?

Important decisions like enforcing UN military intervention in states that abuse human rights are put to vote by the UNSC. Only if all permanent members agree, is the action carried out.

Hence, countries frequently use their veto power to annul any proposal that may be counter-productive to their foreign policy.

UN Intervention in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran's nuclear crisis, were all vetoed.

IndiaDid India agree to give up veto power?

India insists that giving up veto power would be of no use, as the 5 permanent members would then continue to "call the shots."

Hence, in the current proposal, Syed Akbaruddin clarified that if elected, the G4 would choose to temporarily suspend their veto powers, until a formal discussion on the same is completed.

The move seeks to expedite the expansion of the UNSC.

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ObjectionsPakistan, 13 others object

A 13 member group of countries, Uniting for Consensus (UfC), which includes Pakistan is strongly opposed to the G4 countries joining the UNSC as permanent members.

They offer an alternative that non-permanent members should be elected and have longer terms in the UNSC, a sort of "semi-permanent" membership.

India and the G4 strongly reject this proposal, saying it fails to address current representation issues.

CounterIndia and G4's counter

Countering the UFC's proposal, saying it fails to address the current power imbalance between permanent and non-permanent members in the UNSC.

They added that it also completely fails to address representation of African nations, faced with some of the worst security and humanitarian crises in the world.

They argued that the UFC's proposal seeks to increase numbers, but will dilute efficacy of UNSC decision-making.

15 Mar 2017China offers "package solution" for UNSC expansion

In response to G4 countries agreeing to forgo veto powers temporarily, China has called for a "package solution" that addresses interests of all countries and groups.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the issues "can only be addressed by reaching a package solution...through broad-based democratic consultations."

Analysts speculate that China is attempting to stall the expansion process.