The Indian bid to capture permanent berth on the UN Security Council during the current UN session was effectively stumped by the Uniting for Consensus group (UFC) through a resolution adopted on 29th September, which while reiterating the need for Security Council reforms, expressed its resolute opposition to expansion in the permanent members of the Council. The UFC stuck to its known position of creation of long-term non-permanent seats with the possibility of an immediate re-election. The African and Arab nations also want their representation on the Security Council. Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and Pakistan’s ambassador to UN Maleeha Lodhi who represented Pakistan at the UFC meeting, played an active role in the deliberations of the group.

Indian stake for permanent seat is supported by permanent members of the Security Council (SC) except China. President Barrack Obama during his last visit to India and in his meeting with Modi on the sidelines of the current UN session reiterated US support for Indian permanent membership of the SC. It is pertinent to point out that India, Germany, Japan and Brazil known as P-4 have been staking their claim for permanent seat for themselves since 1992 and are in favour of expansion in the permanent as well as non-permanent members of the Security Council, to give it a more representative status.

There are also other nagging issues that need to be firmed up before the process of reforms in the UNSC could be formally initiated. These issues include determination of the categories of membership, question of veto power held by the permanent members, regional representation, the size of the enlarged Council and its working methods and the relationship between SC and General Assembly after the reforms. It is noteworthy that any reforms to be carried out require the support of the two-third majority of the UN members and all the permanent members of the SC. That explains as to why no reforms have been made in the UN Security Council since 1965 when the number of non-permanent members was increased from six to ten. Until and unless the concerns and demands of various groups are not addressed and consensus evolved on the likely reforms, the dream of P-4 to become permanent members of the SC would remain as elusive as ever. China’s reluctance to adopt favourable disposition towards India on the issue could also delay the matter indefinitely because it does not approve of Indian support for Japan’s bid for permanent seat of SC.

The real sticking point however is the veto power enjoyed by the permanent members. Those who are opposed to the increase in the number of permanent members including Pakistan believe that adding more permanent members to SC would further make the UN ineffective in resolving major issues of global concerns and conflicts like it has been happening in the past. These apprehensions and fears are not without substance. During the cold war the SC failed to adopt any consensus resolution on Warsaw Pact Invasion of former Czechoslovakia, the Viet Nam War and Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. The Palestine and Kashmir issues, which are a potential threat to the regional and global peace, have also remained unresolved due to the veto power enjoyed by the permanent members. The SC has also failed in a number of cases to get its own resolution implemented though it has the powers under the present UN Charter even to use military muscle to have them implemented and in some cases it has used these powers selectively. The permanent members also enjoy the right of veto in the selection of UN Secretary General which gives them great influence and clout in the world affairs. Majority of the UN members are not happy and satisfied with the way the UN and the Security Council have been functioning.

Pakistan’s opposition to the permanent seat for India, is absolutely justified not only for the foregoing reasons but also from the perspective that India does not qualify for claiming permanent seat of the SC as it does not even fit into the criteria spelled out by the Bureau of Public Affairs of US on June 20, 2005 which reads “The US is open to UN Security Council reform and expansion, as one element of an overall agenda for UN reform. We advocate a criteria-based approach under which potential members must be supremely well qualified based on factors such as economic size, population, military capacity, commitment to democracy, human rights and non-proliferation. We have to look of course at the overall geographic balance of the Council but effectiveness remains the benchmark for any reform.”

India does not have an enviable record on human rights. According to the reports compiled by international human rights organizations, during the last 24 years the Indian security forces in Kashmir have killed nearly 90 thousand Kashmiris, raped more than ten thousand woman and killed more than seven thousand persons while in custody. The Samjhota Express tragedy which was planned and executed by the Indian intelligence agents also speaks volumes about human rights record of India. The Present Prime Minister of India is a known and avowed practitioner of communal politics with strong anti-Muslim bias. On top of this India is guilty of defying 23 UN resolution on Kashmir calling for a plebiscite to settle the question of accession. How could a country with such a dismal and despicable record on human rights and having shown disrespect for UN resolution be a permanent member of the SC and expected to promote global peace, which is the main function of the Council?. India in fact is a threat to the regional and global peace, as rightly pointed out by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his meeting with UN Secretary General.

The Indian claim also pales into nothingness on the basis of geographic balance criteria. There are already two permanent members of SC from Asia. As is evident India does not fulfill the criteria enunciated by the US itself. Pakistan and India are both nuclear powers who have fought three wars over Kashmir. Therefore until and unless this issue is resolve, Pakistan cannot trust India becoming permanent member of SC. If Obama sees India as US partner in global security, his top priority should be to persuade the former to prove its credentials as promoter of world peace and security by resolving the Kashmir dispute in conformity with the UN resolutions. Mere words and expediency-driven rhetoric is not going to help in promoting world peace and security.