Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday evening made India’s strongest pitch yet for a more prominent role in the UN Security Council – the global body’s highest decision-making forum, asking “Till when do we have to wait? Till when will India be kept away from the UN’s decision-making process?”
“When we were weak, we didn’t trouble the world. When we became strong, we didn’t become a bojh (burden) on the world. Till when do we have to wait? India has sent soldiers to UN peace-keeping missions and has lost the most number of soldiers,” the Prime Minister said in powerful opening remarks.
“The ideals of the United Nations and India’s main principles are similar. Vaisudev Kutumbakam has echoed in UN halls many times. India has always thought about the welfare of the world,” he said.
PM Modi, who was addressing the General Assembly via video conference, reminded the UN that 130 crore Indians still believed in its ideals, but said the global body needed to adapt and change to stay relevant in current times.
“Reform is needed at the United Nations and India is waiting for that reform,” the Prime Minister said.
The Security Council is the UN’s highest-decision making forum. There are five permanent members – the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Russia and France.
India, which has previously served seven terms as a non-permanent and elected member was re-elected for a two-year term in June, along with Ireland, Mexico and Norway.
Last week the government said it was according “highest priority” to getting a permanent seat on the Security Council that “reflects contemporary global realities”.
V Muraleedharan, the Minister of State for External Affairs, said the government was actively engaged in negotiations for both a permanent seat and reforms of the UN’s most powerful body.
“India in collaboration with other pro-reform countries has been consistently making efforts to build support among the UN member states for expansion of the UNSC, in both permanent and non-permanent categories,” the minister told parliament.
On Wednesday, the grouping of India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) expressed “frustration” over the “slow” pace of progress on reform of the UN Security Council and said the time has come to move towards a result-oriented process to expand the key global body.
The three countries, in a joint statement, strongly called for expediting reform of the UNSC, saying any failure to do so may have serious implications for international peace and security.