As a founding member of the UN, India has consistently supported the aims and objectives of the UN.
It’s also worked towards UN goals like international peace & security and the promotion of human rights.
What’s India’s relationship with the UN? Why is the UN beneficial for India and is a permanent UN seat in sight for India?
For starters, India has been one of the largest contributors of troops and police personnel.
As of 2021, India has contributed over 200,000 peacekeepers to the UN, making India one of the largest troop-contributing countries to the United Nations globally. India is also a very vocal advocate for the UN’s peacekeeping missions and has emphasized the importance of these missions in maintaining international peace and security.
The other thing that defines India’s relationship with the UN deals with promoting human rights. India has been a strong advocate for the protection of the rights of women and children and has played a leading role in the UN’s efforts to address violence against women and girls.
India has also been active in the UN’s efforts to promote the rights of people with disabilities and has advocated for the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society. To add to this, India has also played a leading role in the United Nation’s efforts to address climate change.
So much so, that in 2015, India was a key player in the negotiation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change which aims to limit global temperature increases and encourages countries to reduce their carbon emissions.
In fact, India has gone one step further on following through on the mandates of the Paris Agreement with the Indian Cabinet having recently approved PM Modi’s five climate targets, nicknamed the ‘Panchamrit strategy,’ looking at non-fossil energy capacity, renewable energy use, reducing carbon emissions and carbon intensity and achieving net zero by 2070.
According to ancient Indian Hindu epic Mahabharata, Panchamrit refers to five Ayurvedic elements (milk, honey, curd, sugar and ghee) for good health.
Perhaps the most significant thing that you may not even be aware of about the India-UN relationship is that India is one of the world’s largest financial contributors to the United Nations. India gives the UN over 40 MILLION USD every year which helps support the UN’s various activities, including peacekeeping operations, humanitarian assistance, and the promotion of human rights.
The fact is that India is more than qualified to have a permanent seat but faces resistance from the 5 permanent members: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Though the USA has recently endorsed India, it has NOT done so in the past. And permanent members might only be supporting India because they very well know that China will VETO India’s candidacy.
The other thing is that the UN Charter rules would need to be rewritten to support new nations becoming permanent members- this is likely a long process with many players are involved- which as a result, delays India getting a permanent seat.
Therefore, as of 2022, India will again ask for an expansion of the Security Council and to be a part of it. Additionally, EAM Dr S Jaishankar has already declared India’s candidature as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2028-29 term.
So, if not a permanent seat, is India getting any ROI from the UN?
Keep in mind, the UN is one of the world’s largest international organizations, made up of 193 member countries. It would be non-strategic for India to quit the UN. And though the United Nations (UN) has faced significant financial challenges in recent years, due to multiple member states falling behind on their financial obligations to the organization, it STILL remains relevant because it serves as a platform for worldwide cooperation and dialogue.
What’s noteworthy here is that India has an ambitious geopolitical agenda for 2023 focusing on prioritizing Eurasian connectivity, counterterrorism, and the stabilization of Afghanistan. Perhaps one of the most significant benefits for India is that it has leveraged the UN to call Pakistan out on terror activities.
India has shared documents with the international community that Pakistan continues to be behind terrorist organizations Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and ISIL-K in Afghanistan. Several UN reports have incorporated this fact and has made the international community aware of Pakistan’s accountability in global terror.
India has also been a leading voice on issues such as climate change, disarmament, and human rights which increases our global leverage and political capital and has been an active participant in the UN, and it has been elected to the Security Council several times as well.