New York: In a significant development, Britain has reiterated its support for expanding the permanent membership of the UN Security Council to include India, Brazil, Germany, and Japan. The UK’s Permanent Representative to the UN and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs James Cleverley said that the UN’s top decision-making body needs to reflect the realities of the 21st century.
Cleverley’s remarks came amid the ongoing tension between India and China over the border dispute and other issues. India has been seeking a permanent seat in the UNSC for decades, along with the other three countries, collectively known as the G4. The G4 countries have been pushing for a comprehensive reform of the UNSC to make it more representative, democratic, and effective.
The biggest hurdle is China
However, the main obstacle in achieving this goal is China, which is one of the five permanent members of the UNSC, along with the US, UK, France, and Russia. These five countries have veto power, which means they can block any resolution or decision in the UNSC. While France, the US, Russia, and the UK have expressed their support for India’s candidature, China has always been opposed to India’s entry into the elite club. China has cited various reasons for its opposition, such as the lack of consensus among the UN members, the need to protect the interests of small and medium-sized countries, and the complexity of the reform process.
The reform of the UNSC has been a long-standing issue on the agenda of the UN General Assembly. In 2005, a proposal was put forward by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan to enlarge the Council from 15 to 24 members, with six new permanent seats and four new non-permanent seats. However, this proposal did not receive enough support from the member states. Since then, several other proposals have been made by different groups and countries, but none of them have reached a consensus.
The current Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also called for reforming the UNSC in line with the world of today. He has warned that if the Council does not change, it may face a rupture or irrelevance. He has urged the member states to engage in constructive dialogue and negotiations to find a solution that can garner the widest possible political acceptance.