India’s Security Council dream get wings: Will it fly?

UNSC reforms

It’s a leap of faith, uplifting spirits and bringing much cheer to India’s diplomatic establishment. In a milestone of sorts, the UN General Assembly has finally adopted a negotiating text for reform and expansion of the UN Security Council, ending a thousand visions and revisions that marked the process for over two decades. The adoption of the negotiating text by consensus is a big boost for India’s quest for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and the larger drive to make the global body more reflective of the tectonic power shift from the West to the rest.

Boost for G4, India

Modi UN


The UN, a product of post-World War II order, turns 70 mid-September this year, and the historic move shows it’s never too late to change and adapt to new realities of the evolving world order. The decision, which has been hailed as “historic” and “path-breaking” by India, should inject an added element of excitement in the 70th anniversary celebrations of the United Nations. It should also galvanise Prime Minister Narendra Modi to argue India’s case for a permanent seat at the 70th session of the UNGA this year, with greater vigour and conviction.

New Delhi has struck a jubilant tone and welcomed the decision to begin text-based negotiations. “Adoption of this text by consensus by all UN Member States is reflective of the broad support of the international community to move forward on this issue,” said India’s external affairs ministry in a statement.

The September 14 decision of the UNGA is set to impart a renewed momentum to the G4 grouping, comprising India, Germany, Japan and Brazil, which have been campaigning tirelessly for being included as permanent members in an expanded UN Security Council.

Challenges and Pitfalls



The outgoing UNGA President Sam Kutesa has circulated letters that list out the positions of key countries on the negotiating text. It will take tortuous negotiations amid competing agendas and power play to arrive at an agreed text. The next big step will be a vote on the final agreed text in the UNGA. If this text musters two-thirds vote in the UNGA, the Security Council’s expansion will acquire an irreversible momentum.

While the launch of text-based negotiations will be a decisive step forward, there are many pitfalls and challenges on the way which will need to be faced patiently, and overcome before the long-deferred dream of the expansion of UN Security Council becomes a reality. There are plenty of naysayers, who look at aspiring members of the UNSC with suspicion. Leading the charge is the Uniting for Consensus (UFC) group. Also known as Coffee Club, the UFC comprises 13 countries, including Pakistan, and demands a 25-member Security Council with more non-permanent members, a position that is seen by the G4 grouping as stonewalling attempt aimed at derailing the process of UNSC expansion.

Africa Matters

Getting full-spectrum support of the 54-nation continent Africa will be critical to the actualization of UNSC expansion. In fact, the UNSC reforms can’t happen unless the African Conesus comes on board. In this regard, the holding of the third India-Africa Forum Summit in October this year could be a milestone as New Delhi will be looking to get unstinting support of African countries to accelerate the process of UNSC reforms and expansion. This will be the first time India will be hosting leaders and representatives of all 54 African countries. India has broadly backed two permanent seats for the African continent in the reformed UNSC, and is pushing for a joint G4-AU package approach to UNSC expansion.

Naysayers & China factor

The big three of UNSC – US, China and Russia – are also not very enthusiastic about letting these aspiring countries breach their monopoly over veto and decision-making on issues of global security. All permanent members of UNSC support India’s candidacy for a permanent seat in the reformed UNSC except China. Beijing has consistently hedged on support for India’s UNSC bid, and chosen to repeat its formulaic statement on supporting a bigger role for India in the UNSC. China’s anxiety about UNSC expansion is not focused so much on India, but on its rival Japan, also part of the G4 grouping and supported by the US, getting inside a reformed UNSC if the process reaches its fruition. Being a status quoist power, China has tended to adopt a realistic position on UNSC expansion and will not change its stand unless it finds other P5 countries like the US and Russia fully throwing their weight behind the process. However, once the UNGA approves the text for UNSC expansion, Beijing is unlikely to play the spoiler and not stand in the way of the democratisation of the UNSC and India’s permanent seat.

Author Profile

Manish Chand
Manish Chand
Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network ( and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.