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US backs India's stand on UN reforms, says Security Council 'doesn't reflect today's concerns'

India has called for reforms at the UN for years, saying it is unable to represent the geopolitical situation adequately. India also presented a detailed model on behalf of G4 countries that proposed the addition of new permanent members at the UN.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Washington Published on: April 19, 2024 16:18 IST
US, UN reforms, India
Image Source : AP The United Nations Security Council

Washington: The United States has backed India's stand position calling for reforms in the United Nations and that the UN Security Council of 70 years ago does not reflect the realities of today. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US Ambassador to the UN, said the Biden administration supports the inclusion of G4 countries among the permanent members of the UN's top organ, and indicated that only Russia and China are opposed to such expansion.

“Previously the United States, China and Russia agreed on one thing, and that was that we did not want to see changes in the Security Council. But in 2021, the US pulled out of that, and we’ve made clear that it is important that we see reform in the Security Council and broadly in the UN,” she said. “The Security Council of 70 years ago does not reflect the realities of today, where we have 193 (Member States), where Africa does not have a permanent seat, Latin America does not have a permanent seat, and other countries around the world and other regions are not represented in a significant way in the Council."

Thomas-Greenfield said that US President Joe Biden has reaffirmed support for permanent seats for Africa and Latin America and work on that matter is continuing. "So one, we have made clear in our discussions with some of the members of the so-called G4 - Japan, Germany, and India (and Brazil) - we support their becoming permanent members of the Security Council," she added.

The US envoy further asserted that there is no agreement among the 193 members of the UN General Assembly on how the expansion might work, but there is agreement that change is required. "But it is something that we are absolutely committed to, and we’re working to bring it to fruition," further said Thomas-Greenfield.

Earlier, US State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel, during a press briefing on Wednesday, reacted to the statement by Tesla CEO Elon Musk who advocated for India's permanent seat at the UNSC. "We certainly support reforms to the UN institution, including the Security Council, to make it reflective of the 21st-century world that we live in. I don't have any specifics to offer on what those steps are, but certainly, we recognise that there is a need for reform, but I will leave it at that for now," he said.

India's call for UN reforms

India has been at the forefront of years-long efforts to reform the Security Council, saying it rightly deserves a place as a permanent member at the UN's top organ to better represent the interests of the developing world. The nation's quest has gained momentum with support from the international community. India has insisted that the UNSC in its current form does not represent the geopolitical realities of the 21st century.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is composed of 15 member states, including five permanent members with veto power and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms. The five permanent members of the UNSC include China, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and the United States. The non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are elected for 2-year terms by the UNGA.

Earlier in January, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar stressed growing global support for India's permanent membership at the United Nations Security Council and said that sometimes things are not given generously, and one has to seize them. "With each passing year, the feeling in the world is that India should be there, and I can feel that support...The world does not give things easily and generously; sometimes you have to take them," he  said.

India's G4 model

Last month, India presented a detailed model on behalf of G4 countries - Brazil, Germany, Japan and India - for UN Security Council reform that includes new permanent members elected democratically by the General Assembly and displays flexibility on the veto issue.

The G4 model by India proposes that the Security Council’s membership increase from the current 15 to 25-26, by adding six permanent and four or five non-permanent members. Among the six new permanent members, two each are proposed to be from African states and Asia Pacific states, one from Latin American and Caribbean states; and one from Western European and Other states.

The Indian model noted that the current composition of the Security Council, with its “glaring under-representation and un-representation” of key regions in both categories of membership, is “detrimental” to its legitimacy and effectiveness. It stressed that the Council's inability to address critical conflicts and maintain international peace and security underscores the urgent need for reform.

(with inputs from PTI)

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