India has long been advocating for expanding the number of permanent seats in UN Security Council. According to reports, India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin, while speaking in the meeting of General Assembly on behalf of the G-4 comprising of India, Brazil, Japan and Germany, told the Assembly, “Naysayers cannot be allowed to cast a dark shadow over the entire membership and hold the overwhelming majority back.”
“Some amongst us cannot hold the entire process hostage by bending the rules of negotiations,” he said.
The reform process has been reportedly hindered during almost ten rounds of negotiations mainly due to ‘United for Consensus’, a 12-member group that opposes adding permanent members, has used the technicality of preventing the adoption of a negotiating text to be the basis of the discussions and go forward. The group consists of Pakistan.
Akbaruddin has reportedly suggested Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) to operate under normal rules of procedure like all other General Assembly processes, in order to overcome the hurdle. “The General Assembly works on the basis of “give and take negotiations, focused on a document with the co-chairs or facilitators, acting as agents, for facilitating dialogue. In the General Assembly, all a naysayer can do is, at best, cast a negative vote,” he said.
Majority of the countries spoke in favour of the Security Council reform during the meeting with Portugal explicitly coming out in support of India’s permanent membership in the Council.
During the last Assembly session, the IGN met only between January and June and voted in July. “Taking the cue from success stories of the last session, we suggest that our discussions on Security Council reforms should begin at the earliest, and there should not be any artificial deadlines to end discussions prematurely in June,” Akbaruddin added. African, Arab, and Carribean nations have also demanded permanent representations in the security council. Guyana’s permanent representative stated that though half the world’s population lives in Africa, Latin America, and the Carribean, the countries have no representation and the historical injustice must be corrected.
While the meeting heard some supporting voices, there were also countries who opposed the reform. Pakistan was amongst those who opposed. “If the Council cannot reconcile the interests of its five permanent members, how will it cope with the interests of a bigger membership?” China’s Permanent Representative Ma Zhaoxu opposed setting timelines for reforms or “arbitrarily launching text-based negotiations”, Permanent Representative of Pakistan Maleeha Lodhi said.