The United Nations was formed in 1945, and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) (UN Security Council) is an organ within the UN designed to maintain international security, peace, and stability. It is currently made up of five permanent members: the US, UK, France, Russia, and China; and six temporary members, elected by General Assembly for two year terms. However, an organization called G4 – made up of Japan, India, Germany, and Brazil – feel that the permanent members need to be expanded to reflect the true state of today’s society and represent the underrepresented.
India in particular has an overwhelming number of supporters, with all of the permanent members but China backing its permanent membership. But why does it want to join the UNSC? The main reason is to defend Kashmir against Pakistan using veto power like how Russia did against Ukraine in the civil war.
First, we need to understand the roots of the India-Pakistan conflict. When Britain withdrew from the region in 1947, hundreds of small states had to decide whether to join India or Pakistan. Kashmir was a state where a Hindu king ruled over a Muslim population, and it was undecided which side to join.
Eventually the Pakistani army gained control of the western part of Kashmir, and the Hindu king chose to join India for military protection and so the Indian army occupied the rest of Kashmir. Both countries have been locked in a struggle over the state for more than 70 years since. India and Pakistan fought 3 wars since 1947, 2 of them being over Kashmir, and violence has persisted since 1989 killing more than 47,000 people. There has been a UN organized ceasefire since 2003, but there are still many violent conflicts between the two countries.
So why should they join if they are going to simply take Kashmir?
Many countries back India because of their peacekeeping initiatives. India contributed the most to UN peacekeeping when it had a seat on the UNSC, and set peacekeeping as a key idea of the UNSC to increase its effectiveness. Even while not on the UN Security Council, India has contributed more than 180,000 troops total and is the second largest troop contributor in the UN.
However, currently, there is a lack of UN peacekeeping troops and missions are often unsuccessful. Although from a foreign perspective, it may seem like a success, in closer or long-term perspective, this is not always the case. Two out of 11 peacekeeping missions are able to build lasting peace, most do not even promote security or restore authority on the local level, and the shortage is high, with one peacekeeper per 400 square miles in Western Sahara, and similar low levels of troops in other states. Bringing India onto the UNSC would set peacekeeping missions as a goal once again and help increase the effectiveness of the design of the UNSC: to promote international peace and security.
However, on the other side, an argument of not only Kashmir, but of human rights violations appears as well. India does not uphold some human rights that could lead them to possibly veto human rights related operations in the UNSC, which would make it hard to do its job. India historically opposes human rights related UN intervention such as Responsibility 2 Protect (R2P) – an initiative to stop genocide, war crimes, and other human rights violations. India also causes human rights violations in Kashmir, their police force killing and raping numerous people and arresting without warrant. India also does not protect free speech – many of its journalists are being assaulted brutally for simply writing about the truth and doing their job.
With these elements in mind, some say that if a country such as India was allowed onto the UNSC, it would set a bad precedent for future members or even for UN member states. In the end, we’ll just have to wait and see whether or not India will get its seat on the UNSC, and if they do, the effects of it.
Paul Kang, Grade 9
La Canada High School