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India was one of the founding members of the United Nations at San Francisco in 1945. It played an active role in the decolonization movement of United Nations as was the first chair of the decolonization committee set up in UN. During the 1950s, though India was not very powerful in terms of economy and military, India had a strong global image during that time. India also supported the victims of apartheid practised in South Africa. India was a leading nation of Non-alignment movement and G-77 for third world countries. India also represented the interest of South in divided north-south politics of the UN. Moreover, India played a very proactive role in disarmament movement, made a declaration in 1948 that atomic energy should be used only for peaceful purposes and also declared a ban on nuclear test in 1954.

It remained very active in UN peacekeeping operations since 1950, sent troops to disputed countries like Korea, Egypt, Congo, Rwanda, Angola etc. Recently other countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and China have become a major supplier of troops under the provision of the UN. Especially Bangladesh emerged as a leading nation sending troops to countries involved in conflicts. A shift has been made in the system of providing troops to conflict involved nation, instead of sending troops from outside countries began to train local troops, it is evident through the deal signed between India and United States to jointly train troops of 6 African nations for peacekeeping forces.

If we talk about India's relationship with the United Nation, the discussion comes to Kashmir conflict. Initially, Kashmir issue was referred to the UN by Indian leadership as Nehru had tremendous belief in the UN and that time Kashmiri's opinion was with India. When in 2010, UN decided to remove Kashmir issue from international discussion forum as it was believed as a bilateral issue, it was considered a victory for India and defeat of Pakistan in the sense that Pakistan always tried to internationalise issue through the use of the various forum. During the cold war, some Western countries including the US were very sympathetic to Pakistan, but since 1990s politics changed, US took a neutral stand towards India and Pakistan rather than blindly supporting one on Kashmir issue. So in the changed scenario, Kashmir wasn't the part of any serious discussion under the UN. UNSC also appreciated the recent measures taken by New Delhi on relaxing restrictions from Kashmir valley and didn't take the matter further, this shows work has been done in the right direction. India's permanent representation at UN, Syed Akbar Uddin, said: "UNSC acknowledged the efforts of India and this is the direction in which international community wanted the matter to move."

The major issue of India in relation to the United Nations is to reform the Security Council. It is argued that five permanent members such as Britain, France aren't as much important than it was in the 1950s but they still control the Security Council. In today's context, countries emerging economically powerful like India, Brazil, Germany, Japan deserves a permanent seat in the Security Council. Europeans are overrepresented while Asia is a very powerful continent but not represented. So there should be proper geographical representation in the Security Council. Though the reform proposal of Germany and Japan may be acceptable, there are various obstacles in India's proposal such as there is a lack of consensus among UNSC members, Indo-Pak conflict is another major hurdle. In principle, all UNSC members support India's proposal to SC membership but China does not support and the US also don't push enough. Pakistan continuously lobbying against India in Islamic states. So here resolving disputes with neighbours is very important for India because it is argued that if India is unable to resolve its disputes with neighbours, what's a guarantee it will play a neutral role in resolving disputes of other countries.

One of the recent development made in the UN is the introduction of text-based negotiation. Earlier the reform proposals were just talk shop or formalised. Now the reform process is formalized, SC reform proposals will be documented. Some countries like the US, Russia, China didn't contribute to text negotiation.

There are some contemporary priorities of India in UNO. One is reform in UNSC where India can play a more proactive role in social and security issues, second is Sustainable development: As more than 20% of India's population are below the poverty line, it wants UN to play a more progressive role in the sustainable development program. The third is an issue of climate change: India wants the UN to play an active role because negotiations taking place still favours western countries. Last but not least is to define and global counter of terrorism, the UN is unable to define terrorism and not even very successful in implementing a program which can curb the issue of terrorism.

In Prime Minister Modi's visit to UN General Assembly in 2015, if we follow his speeches, he was very critical of the fact that UN hasn't defined the issue of terrorism till now, no difference between good terrorism and bad terrorism. Since India is one of the victims of terrorism, the UN must define terrorism and take some measures against these forces. Earlier also when General Assembly was addressed by PM Modi he wanted Yoga to be included as an international day. It was accepted by most of the countries and there's a day dedicated to Yoga known as Yoga International Day.

Thus, it could say that if the UN has to remain representative then it must be representative. UN or Security Council cannot be representative until or unless it has members like India, Brazil, Germany and Japan.


United Nations history of 74 years is marked with many achievements but also failures. To make the organization more effective in the future we need to look at both sides. UNO has played a key role in resolving numerous international conflicts through successful peaceful settlements. In today's time, peacekeepers are in many hotspots around the world trying to stop the war and save human life. Different aspects of education, human life, elimination of poverty, and climate change advanced through the huge effort of the agencies along with the organizations. For 12 times the Noble Peace prize gives to the UN and its different bodies (Welz, 2018). The human rights 1948 act refers that the United Nations will act as the custodian for human rights protection, Women discrimination, rights of the child, and persons who were missing. On the aspects of disarmament, refugees, trade, human rights, the United Nations has negotiated many multilateral treaties. International law and codification of those laws are controlled by the UN. There were 17 sustainable development goals in the fields of economics, social and environmental which the UN will address through this 8th-millennium development goal within 2030.

Despite its various success, UNO suffers from many deficiencies. In 1970, 190 countries came to sign the non-proliferation treaty which recognized five countries that have superpowers. After that Israel, North Korea developed nuclear weapons instead of signing the PTBT and NPT. It sheds light on the drawbacks of the UN. Similarly, despite solving many international problems, the International Court of Justice could not work efficiently at the time of P-5 Veto power when it was needed. International criminal court created in 2002 were subjected to several criticisms for prosecuting only African leaders while western countries also had war committed criminals.

The UN has indeed played a very crucial role in saving the world and the people but there are many places where the organization failed devastatingly such as many people were killed in Nigeria and Rwanda. The ‘Body Count’ report sheds light on the fact that 220,000 people killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan and more than 1 million people dead in Iraq because of the wrong policy of the UN (Psr, 2020).

These disastrous incidents might have been stopped if UNSC members act timely. It clearly reflects the weakness of UNSC and its veto powers that allow some members to place ahead of their own interest. Violations of UN Charter by powerful nations is the main reason for UN failures in many fields.

In contemporary era also, the present world is facing lots of challenges such as the cold war between America and China, oil diplomacy, natural disasters, the threat from terrorism, the threat from poverty, disease, environmental breakdown, bilateral relations of various countries are also not very good. It is because of superpowers hegemony, the UN has remained unable to perform efficiently.


The United Nations should strive continuously to transform itself to new circumstances and changes in the international system. Its future success requires the UN to be adaptive, creative and courageous. Security Council is accused of being arrogant, secretive and undemocratic. Geopolitics also has changed dramatically in the last 74 years, there's an urgent need of reform UNSC to meet the global needs and challenges of a new century. Cooperation and coordination among member states in social, economic and political affairs hold the key to produce positive outcomes in maintaining peace and human development.

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