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Vikas Gholu Rathod asked: What could be the implications of India becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council?

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  • Keerthi Sampath Kumar replies: To understand what the implications could be, it is necessary to first look at why India wants to become a permanent member of the Council. An expansion in Council membership would, according to India, reflect the ‘contemporary realities’ (and not the world ‘realities’ of the pre-Cold War era when the UN came into being), make the system more democratic and also enhance the credibility and effectiveness of the Council in dealing with global issues. India’s inclusion as a permanent member would also be an acknowledgement of its growing importance in global governance. If India does become a permanent member, naturally it would join the P5 club and enjoy veto rights.

    Those opposed to the expansion of the Security Council argue that if the number of member states who have the power to veto any resolution increases, the impending possibility of a prolonged deadlock over global issues that would require immediate attention also increases. This would in turn impinge on the effectiveness and efficiency of the Council in maintaining global peace and security, the very reason that India envisions an expanded Council. There is also an apprehension among the international community that if countries like India, Germany become permanent members to the exclusion of other nations, such a reform would not make the system any more democratic than what it is today.

    Nevertheless, it has to be acknowledged that the current Council structure is not conducive for maintaining global peace and security. It remains to be seen how the Security Council can be reformed to make it more efficient and effective and at the same time reflect the realities of today.