Wednesday, December 15, 2010

UN Security Council, India and the apartheid

Reproducing from The Morung Express (Ref:)

In mid-October this year when India, after 19 years, got elected as one of the temporary members of UN Security Council many in the diplomatic corners of Delhi started busying themselves up projecting it as a major triumph of their dedicated finesse.
The truth, although, is that India had Kazakhstan alone to compete with in Asia group and that Kazakhstan withdrew from this vote earlier this year. Apart from the trivial fact that this membership will be valid for mere 365 days, w.e.f January 1st 2011 and hence a worm-eaten reason to rejoice for a year.

India’s dream run for a permanent seat has, understandably, got a thrust with this win. During his maiden trip, Mr. Obama has supported India’s candidature for permanent seat in Security Council on ‘strategic grounds’. But let us not forget that for over last 20 years US has been maintaining a confounding position, often publicly, ‘India is a friend, but Pakistan is an ally’. This dubiously carved stance always serves as a fan to diffuse the ‘great Indian hope’. Back-patting with an anomalous face is what US has to offer to India. Dichotomy of dogma does not end here. Wikileak cables as recent as July 2009 divulges the hilarious statement transmitted by Ms. Hillary Clinton to at least 33 American embassies worldwide terming India’s candidature as ‘self-appointed’. Hilarious enough; as if, the US was appointed in the council by the rest of the world.

A considerable number of the US legislators do not seem to endorse this official stand and truly trust India as a must choice for UNSC. In most recent developments, Congressman Alcee Hastings came up with a resolution supporting India for permanent membership. Mr. Hastings pointed out “India’s position at the nexus of global security issues, from Pakistan and Kashmir to China and the Indian Ocean, makes its participation in international security decisions essential”. Also noted, “India has thus demonstrated a commitment to international dialogue and constructive engagement and indeed, enjoys good relations with most countries around the world.”

But, there is a split within UNSC itself over decisions of bringing reforms in the Council and allowing more permanent members with right to veto. One such old friend is Russia, who also is a permanent member with the highest number of vetoes among 5 members of the core council. Russia maintains a goody image on the need to reform but increasing proximity of Russian officials with Pakistanis has paled Yeltsinian ‘support for India’ down to a Medvedevian ‘we see India as deserving’ position. Reportedly, Russia too is against any hasty steps towards UNSC reforms.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy in his ‘business’ India visit has remarked it as ‘unthinkable’ that India is still not a permanent member. But also added that UNSC demands equal representation from Africa, Brazil, Germany, Japan and the Arab group – which is pretty much what Ban Ki Moon, the UN chief also believes in. France has signed hefty business deals with India in nuclear power sector. It is interesting whether India can convert it to a deal or not.

Among the G-4 (Germany, Brazil, India and Japan) frontrunners for membership, India and Japan have the additional challenge of representing the same geography. The pivotal player China who has territorial disputes with both Japan and India is also a nation India could never rely upon. Japan and China have engaged themselves in finding out a middle-path solution to their dustups. It will take time to digest how ADB, presided by Japan, allowed a vote on a developmental aid for the Indian province Arunachal Pradesh and thereby internationalized China’s foundationless irritating pugnacity over Arunachal, not many months ago. India lost it to China, to everyone’s surprise, with countries from Australia to South Korea voting against India. This shows how Chinese emissaries have succeeded proselytizing near and distant neighbors to protagonists. Wikileaks also reveal how China had urged the US officials last year not to be ‘proactive’ in expanding the council. “The P-5 club should not be diluted; if we end up with a P-10, (both China and the United States) would be in trouble” - runs one of the leaked cables. Not to mention, China’s reservations on the council expansion is nothing but the tasteless fruit of rivalry over Asia and future’s world. And US is in murky waters now.

Brazil has a secured support base in the LatAms and also among few European nations. Germany has it in Europe and in North America. Japan does not have many concerns in current context except China whom they are lately sorting out with. India is perhaps the only one in G-4 who has good relations with most countries in this planet but does not have a secured support base. And this is nothing but a diplomatic failure of Nehruvian NAM philosophies that had put the nation in understated relationships with most others. India could not become an ally of anyone, but a friend. World is in no mood to overlook India as the potential power of tomorrow, but is India prepared to stop underplaying her own strength. The disparagement is self-created and will remain so until India comes out of the veil of NAM mediocrity and un-ambitious diplomacy. India has to about-face the double-faced council.

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