Thursday, December 30, 2010

India, Security Council reforms and rising responsibilities

UN Flag
"Now, let me suggest that with increased power comes increased responsibility. The United Nations exists to fulfill its founding ideals of preserving peace and security, promoting global cooperation, and advancing human rights. These are the responsibilities of all nations, but especially those that seek to lead in the 21st century.

If I can be frank, in international fora, India has often avoided these issues. But speaking up for those who cannot do so for themselves is not interfering in the affairs of other countries. It's not violating the rights of sovereign nations." These lines are extracts from Obama's address to the Joint session of Indian Parliament made at its central hall during his state visit.

Obama's statement about accepting the increased responsibility may concentrated more on human right violations across the globe. Its another matter that various countries and civilizations across the world define 'Human Rights' based on frameworks that suits to them. But the real question is, if we are going after the so called magic seat in UNSC, are we prepared to take more responsibilities across the world? That is, are we ready to make our own contributions to the security framework, instead of enjoying the one - which is already in place and maintained by current powers through bilateral and group deals - for our economic growth?

The interesting thing is that we are hearing about UN SC reforms for a long time. But apart from the high volume drum beating in the public, is there any real progress on it?

Let us coming back to the question of accepting responsibility. In the post liberal world, trade may be the strongest thread which tied different nations together. Even the European Union came to existence as a trade group. Along with the increase in economic activities with in and outside of the country, we will become more and more attached to various nations for want of resources like oil & gas or for markets to sell our products.

At certain point of time, when our ties with the various nations cross a particular threshold, we may automatically become a stakeholder in the internal events of that country. After all one of the prime motivator for an increase in trade is peace and stability.

For example, consider the case of China in oil rich Sudan. Because of their high exposure to the petroleum sector of Sudan they automatically become a stake holder in Sudan's future. They cant continue with their policy of non-interference in the internal matters of other countries for any longer (especially in dictators run African countries). China can't utilize the world security order created by US and western countries for ever, slowly they have to become a part of it and accept the responsibility. When India reach such a point (hope that a long and sustainable economic growth will take us to that point) our stakes in global affairs, will also favor a conflict free world.
UN Security Council

But are we ready to take strong decisions in such a situations?As Ajai Shukla  pointed out in his Business Standard column,

"India’s sway in Afghanistan has, over the last four decades, been an alternating saga of triumph and despair, driven largely by tumultuous events beyond our control. But now, for no reason other than negligence, New Delhi’s star is fading over Kabul and the rising sun is Pakistan’s

If New Delhi is not to be marginalised once again in Kabul, it needs to address a key Afghan complaint that I heard repeatedly from senior Afghan officials during my return to that country this month: “India’s development aid, while deeply appreciated by the people of Afghanistan, cannot substitute for a political policy. As the pre-eminent power in South Asia, is India prepared to just build tube-wells in Afghan villages while the country falls into Pakistan’s lap?"

Look at the current major issues in the world. Iran crisis, do we have stakes? yes, not only as a major oil and natural gas source but also as a neighbour of Pakistan and for so many other reasons. North Korea, do we have stakes? yes, mainly because of the alleged links between North Korea & Pakistan in nuclear and missile sector. Afghanistan, Do we have stakes? yes, a neighbour of Pakistan, the existence of terrorist infrastructure in this country may prove deadly to India. Nepal, SriLanka, Maldives, Bangladesh; the list is long.

But where we are now? We are no where near to North Korean six party talks (Its another matter that these six party talks are proved to be a never ending exercise). In Afghanistan we are almost pushed out of peace talks.

For the next two years India is a part of UN SC as an elected non-permanent member - getting the permanent membership may take decades (if there is a probability for any such thing to happen!!!) and the chances are still not so high. How far India will go in this way? how long it will take us to move from a country which is enjoying the current framework for growth to that of a country which actively works for the betterment of world security and development?


Image Courtesy ; Wikipedia

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