A Matter Of Trust
The 75th General Assembly of the UN remained mostly banal this year. Most of the lectures, meetings, and seminars were held online; as the Heads of the Member-States addressed those events through the Internet. No one took the risk of coming to visit New York, one of the most COVID-19 affected US cities, this time. US President Donald Trump, too, attended the UNGA from the White House! The US President was heavily criticised for not attending the UNGA… However, that is a different issue altogether…
Although the UNGA was mostly different this year, the Pandemic – seemingly – has been able to create an environment of distrust among the members of the UN. The Organisation – which was inaugurated by releasing the white doves, standing on the ruins of the World War II – is in deep crisis! A discussion on the origins of COVID-19 and its global outbreak was scheduled to take place at the UN Security Council. However, China, reportedly, did not allow the UNSC to do so, using its power as a Permanent Member of the Council. It seems that whenever the Global Community has expressed doubt over the neutrality of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the context of COVID-19 Pandemic, China has taken necessary measures to bury the topic…
It is an open secret that the Asian Giant is controlling the UN, as well as the WHO. Apart from the UN’s series of advices in recent times, there lies only the Power Play of the five Permanent UNSC Members! The UN had played an important role after the fall of erstwhile Soviet Union in 1991, when the Global Geopolitics was going through a rough phase. The UNSC had remained virtually locked during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the US! Since the 1990’s, the UN Headquarters have failed to create an image of Global Unity. The US, in a way, started influencing the decision-making process of the UN after the fall of the Soviet Union. Beijing, busy with the Tiananmen Square at that time, was not in a position to challenge the hegemony of the US and the West. From the beginning of the 21st Century, China and Russia began to collectively oppose the US’ domination, and now, they have literally declared a war against the West! The whole thing has become more complicated, because the Western World itself is multifaceted now! In recent times, there have been growing differences between Europe and the US over various issues, such as the Iranian Nuclear issue, the International Trade practices, Global Warming, et al.
Meanwhile, India’s two-year term as Non-Permanent Member of UNSC will begin from January 1, 2021. For the past few months, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and the Top Officials of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs have been vocal on UN reforms, partly as a part of New Delhi’s preparations for the Big Role! There is no substitute for engaging in Diplomacy. However, the real picture, may be, is somewhat different…
According to a pessimist, India can hardly achieve anything in the next two years. For those who are extremely optimistic, this would be the best time for India to reconsider its old position and demands. Furthermore, an experienced diplomat knows that the next two years are the golden opportunity for India to gain importance in the multilateral world!
Prime Minister Modi said nothing new in his address to the UNGA this September. India has been pushing for reforms in the UNSC, since the World Body marked its 50th anniversary in 1995. It has become mandatory for India to request the UN to expand the Standing Committee of the UNSC, and to include more countries as its members. Perhaps, this is the right time for the South Asian Nation to realise the fact that the UN would never accept those demands. India should also realise that the UN means more than just the Security Council. The UN could have honoured India with a Permanent Membership of the UNSC during the Cold War, when India was able to successfully bring forward its own multilateral programme. India had received the Global Support on various issues, such as War against Colonialism and Imperialism, Ceasefire Agreement between different countries and introduction of a new Economic System. However, the useless UNSC refused to provide India with a Permanent Membership.
It is also important to keep in mind that in the current turbulent period, it is nice to talk about scriptural ideas, like self-reliance and the World is One (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam). However, turning a blind eye to the Multilateral World Order‘s connection to National Security and Interests could be dangerous! At a time when China and Pakistan are pushing hard to take Kashmir and related issues to the International Level, India’s multilateralism should help secure the National Integrity.
Keeping the Border Peaceful and Free from Enemies are not the only challenges that a nation would devote its entire time to. It is equally important to keep the Economic Prosperity and Interests intact at this juncture of Economic, Technological and Environmental Transformations. To do so, India would have to use the UN, to form strong alliances, to strengthen its role in enacting new laws for maintaining the world order, to increase its contribution to the UN Budget, albeit slightly, and above all to increase International Influence. It is to be noted that India’s contribution to the UN Budget is just 0.7%, while China contribution is 8%! Else, India may well continue day-dreaming about influencing reforms in the UN.
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