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United Nations Security Council elections: India wins again as a non- permanent member to the UNSC

Registering a comfortable victory, India got elected as a non-permanent member of the 15 member United Nations Security Council UNSC) from the Asia-Pacific category for 2021-22 term. India secured 184 votes in the 193-member General Assembly. ‘This victory assumes significance as it comes at a time when the United Nations is celebrating its 75th anniversary, and the world is slowly recovering from the global pandemic of COVID-19,’ says an expert.

The 193 member UN General Assembly held elections for President of the 75th session of the Assembly, five non-permanent members of the Security Council and members of the Economic and Social Council.

On Wednesday (June 17, 2020), special voting arrangements were put in place at the UN Headquarters in strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols. In fact every year for a two-year term, the UNGA gets to elect five non-permanent members (out of 10 in total).

India’s victory was certain as it was the only candidate seeking the only seat from the Asia-Pacific category. Last year in June, India’s candidature for the seat was already endorsed unanimously by the 55-member Asia-Pacific grouping, including China and Pakistan.

A letter to member states with the names of candidates for the various elections was recently circulated by the President of the UN General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande. And in that for two vacant seats from Asia-Pacific states and Africa Djibouti, India and Kenya were the candidates and only India and Kenya were endorsed. And for the one seat for the Latin American and Caribbean States, Mexico was the only endorsed candidate. And the names of Canada, Ireland and Norway were endorsed for two seats for the Western European and other States.

The distribution of the 10 non-permanent seats are based on the regional basis – two for the Latin American and Caribbean States; and two for Western European and other States and five for African and Asian States; one for the Eastern European States.

A two-thirds majority of ballots of Member States that are present and voting in the Assembly is needed for the country to be elected to the UNSC.

Last week, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had outlined India’s priorities for its candidature to the Council and stated that the focus will be on ‘New Orientation for a Reformed Multilateral System.”

A comprehensive approach to peace and security, new opportunities for progress, effective response to international terrorism, reforming multilateral systems, and technology with a human touch are some of the priority areas of India as a non-permanent member of the UNSC.

In the years 1950-1951, 1967-1968, 1972-1973, 1977-1978, 1984-1985, 1991-1992 and most recently in 2011-2012, India has been elected as a non-permanent member of the Council.

India has been urging for reform to the UNSC stating it deserves a place as a permanent member as the current Security Council is not completely representing the geo-politics of the present times.

Expert View on today’s victory

Sharing his view, former Ambassador Anil Trigunayat says, ‘We are happy that India has been elected unanimously from the Asia Pacific group for the non- permanent seat of the United Nations Security Council for the years 2021-22. Old and new challenges continue to haunt the organization both internally and externally. UN reforms should be the main agenda.’

‘Multilateralism has been decimated in recent times and must be strengthened as mentioned in the MEA’s vision document that states India’s overall objective during this tenure in the UN Security Council will be the achievement of N.O.R.M.S: a New Orientation for a Reformed Multilateral System. As terrorism continues to be the key problem India will aim to work for an effective response mechanism and a comprehensive approach to international peace and security. It may face challenges from the well-entrenched members of the UNSC. But India’s credentials have acquired a much deeper salience and respect in the international domain,’ he adds.

In his view, ‘India’s lead on Climate Change and initiatives like International Solar Alliance and leadership in WHO and WTO as well as its external bilateral outreach will enable to help achieve objectives for the global welfare and fair and transparent distribution of global goods and commons. The policy laid down by PM Modi with 5Ss encapsulates it best which include Samman (Respect), Samvad (Dialogue), Sahyog (Cooperation), and Shanti (Peace), to create conditions for universal; Samriddhi (Prosperity).’

‘There are plenty of hot spots and challenges that will require innovative approaches in order for the UN to redeem its relevance once again and I hope India, one of its founding members will help achieve that,’ he concludes.

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