CLAMOUR FOR UNSC REFORM IS GROWING BY THE DAY:
Pitching for an early reform of the UN Security Council, India has said several countries yearn to be recognised for their contribu_ lion to world affairs and resistance to expansion of the body was “unacceptable” to the large majority.
India’s permanent representative to the UN, Hardeep Singh Purl, said there was “palpable desire” among the membership for early reform of the Security Council to make it reflective of contemporary reality and also to acknowledge the manifold changes that have taken place in the world since the Council was crated in 1945. “There is the unmistakable yearning among the several countries to be recognised for their effective contributions to world affairs, including the maintenance of international peace and security.
“The subtle response from some quarters that the patrimony is either indivisible or can only be shared in bits and pieces is unacceptable to the large majority of the membership,” Puri said at the 8th round of intergovernmental negotiations on equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council. He said the demand for a reform model that encompasses expansion in both the permanent and non-permanent categories is a fundamental one and should be the starting point of real negotiations adding that those who oppose this tenet are in a clear minority. Puri noted that there is not one dissonant voice in respect of enhanced representation for Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Caribbean region. “The clamour for treating new permanent members on par with existing ones is loud and clear and growing stronger by the day,” he added. Puri said Ind:a supports African aspirations for permanent membership with the veto.
The reformed Council is expected to have a size in the mid-20s as opposed to the current 15 members. There is also strong desire among the membership to continually improve the Council’s working methods and see the General Assembly transforming itsts.11 into the chief deliberative, legislative, policy-making and representative body of the international community. Pun expressed hope that these suggestions would be captured in a draft resolution or in a report that the Assembly could adopt.
INDIA’S FOREIGN POLICY
both the countries synergise and harness tvf;eir pool of scientific talent.
Given the dynamics of a rapidly changing international landscape, where oolitical and economic alignments
ge with every critical event, such as the Iraq War, the Middle East crisis
the recent development in Nepal or
and other countries of South Asia, the
conventional measure of a great power has become redundant and is in fact misleading. This is particularly true in case of India because it leads uninformed public opinion to underestimate the comprehensive national strength India has acquired in recent years. And will continue to harness through diplomatic apparatus, besides peaceful management of developing the human resources of than a billion people. However, India’s unambiguous and demonstrable ability to keep others from imposing their will on her, eminently qualifies India to be regarded as an emerging global poser.
An assessment of whether India a a truly global power or is likely to become one in the foreseeable future or whether it shall be perpetually in pursuit of that hypothetical goal will require a serious examination of India’s real and possible potential in the context of the influence of established global powers in a number of political, social and economic aspects.
Does India have the Political Attributes of a Global Power?
India is a stable democratic 01- ity. It has a constitutional system of government which has been tried and tested over about 60 years since indePendence. The Constitution of India has demonstrated unambiguously that it is workable and viable. The changes of government through a robust electoral process are clear sign of a healthy
,dcy India is a ‘Union of States’
and the Constitution provides for bicameral legislatures, both at the Centre and in the states. While the Lower House is directly elected, the members of the Upper House at the Centre are elected through indirect elections, by state legislatures. The system of elect,1°Ils is monitored by an independent `-o.nstitutional body, the Election Corn‑
ssi°n. Like any other Parliamentary ernocracy, there have been calls for reforms. Most of these demands have tk-t‘n sought to be justified on ground
that changes in legislative structure re needed so that socioec
-onon–iic status quo is not perpetuated. TheP olitical process both at the centre and states is sufficiently robust to resolve these issues through a political and democraticdialogue. The effectiveness of legislatures h
as increased considerably after live telecast of Parliamentary proceedings was started. Public and media scrutiny is an important instrument for monitoring performance of legislatures and that of individual legislators. Legislative institutions in India are among the best in the world and have encouraged many other countries to emulate legislative practices of India.
The judiciary, though not as powerful as in countries like the United States, is independent. The Supreme Court and High Courts are known for their judicial prudence and enjoy an appeal across the country. The judicial system at lower levels is undergoing a rapid transformation with the induction of knowledge based technologies and is expected to become fairly responsive when the process of modernization is complete. The executive has the disadvantage of being a generalized bureaucracy, which lacks specialization in many key areas of governance. This problem is particularly perceptible in departments which deal with matters relating to science, technology and economic affairs. The process of reforms is being implemented in both the Central and State Governments through induction of knowledge based technologies. However, this is a critical area of governance where the progress is clearly unsatisfactory, particularly in the State Governments. The process of liberlisation has started taking roots across the country and various institutions of the executive have no choice but to reform in unison with a rapidly progressing information society.
It can safely be said that the Indian polity is sufficiently stable to withstand pulls and pressures of the ‘revolution of rising expectations’ sweeping India. This includes the increasingly infrequent, but at times alarming acts of religious or ethnic fanaticism of the caste and class clashes, besides law and order problems on account of frequent strikes in a diminishing public sector. Once the process of modernization of the executive is complete, India would surely be in a position to carry off the mantle of a truly great global power.
Does India have the Ability to Prevent Domination by an External Power?
Since its inception in an independent India in 1947, the Indian foreign policy establishment has acquired the reputation of being pontificating and too moralistic in the articulation of its foreign policy. The policy of non-alignment was perceived to be convoluted by a number of global players, until the rationale for the policy weakened with the end of the Cold War. This historical phase necessitated a fundamental shift in foreign policy formulation and the paradigms that guided the process. Bereft of traditional moorings, the Indian policy makers had no choice but to fall back on the concept of extension of enlightened national interest as the basis of foreign policy. This process was helped by the fact that the foreign policy establishment had expanded to include decision makers from across the country, rather than a small princely or cosmopolitan elite. This change also ushered in an unprecedented expansion in the area of foreign policy activism.
The disproportionate focus in our relationship with Pakistan, China, Russia, UK and USA and other established actors on the India foreign policy radar declined. A new set of priorities emerged, which included our relationship with neighbouring countries in South and South-East Asia and an effort to open up serious dialogues with a number of other regions with which India’s interaction was hitherto minimalist. This set of countries include among others, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Singapore, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Saudi Arabia and a number of West European countries.
This broad basing of relations has ensured that, today, India has the ability to resist dominance by any single power that has the capacity to crowd out others, and which may use aggressive measures to threaten Indian interests or India’s relations with not only the States in India’s immediate neighbourhood but also with friendly powers outside the Indian subcontinent. Needless to say, even in the backdrop of a rapidly improving relationship with the Uniled Stated and China, India has been able to ensure that her relationship with other countries does not become a victim of the process of engagement with these two important powers. Our continued