India’s role in united nation
India is one of the founding members of the UN. It signed the Declaration by United Nations at Washington on 1 January 1942 and also participated in the historic UN Conference of International Organization at San Francisco from 25 April to 26 June 1945. India has consistently supported the purposes and principles of the UN and has made significant contributions to implementing the goals of the UN Charter, particularly in the field of peace keeping.
Some years back the then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said: “Over the decades, India has made an enormous contribution to the United Nations, through the efforts of its Government, and the work of Indian scholars, soldiers and international civil servants. India’s has been one of the most eloquent voices helping the United Nations shape its agenda on behalf of the developing world. And the experience and professionalism of its armed forces has proved invaluable, time and again, in UN peacekeeping operations – in which over a hundred Indian soldiers have given their lives.
India has contributed over 1,60,000 troops to 43 of 64 UN peacekeeping operations since its inception in the 1950s. Over 160 Indian armed and police forces personnel have laid down their lives while fighting for the UN’s blue flag.
The first deployment of the Indian armed forces was during the Korean War of the early 1950s. Other peacekeeping operations in which Indian personnel have taken part include Indo-China (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia), Congo, Mozambique, Somalia, Rwanda, Angola, Sierra-Leone and Ethiopia. Currently, Indian armed forces are part of seven of the 14 ongoing UN peacekeeping missions. Indian forces are in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Congo (MONUC), Sudan (UNMISS), Golan Heights (UNDOF), Ivory Coast (MINUSTAH), and Liberia (UNMIL). The first all women contingent in any UN peacekeeping mission, a Formed Police Unit from India, was deployed in Liberia in 2007 as part of the UN peacekeeping mission.
But the changing nature of conflicts where a peacekeeping force is increasingly being asked to do a lot more than its traditional mandate is an issue of concern to India, which it is likely to raise in the UN forums.
Over the years, India has viewed the UN as a forum that could play a role as a guarantor to international peace and security. In recent times, India has attempted to strengthen the UN system to combat in the spirit of multilateralism global challenges of development and poverty eradication, climate change, terrorism, piracy, disarmament, human rights, peace building and peacekeeping.
India was also at the forefront in the fight against apartheid and racial discrimination in South Africa. India was the first country to raise the issue in the UN in 1946 and played a leading role in the formation of a sub-committee against Apartheid set up by the General Assembly. India was one of the earliest signatories to the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination adopted in 1965.
India has over the years also championed the cause of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. In 1996, India as part of a group of 21 countries submitted to the Conference of Disarmament a Programme of Action calling for a phased elimination of nuclear weapons (1996 – 2020). India is the only state with nuclear weapons that has consistently supported the call for total nuclear disarmament.
ndia’s has always been a strident voice at the UN, a voice that was stronger as it founded the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Group of 77 developing countries that argued within the UN for a more equitable international economic and political order. Article 53 of the UN Charter states that the multilateral organisation would “promote higher standard of living, full employment and conditions economic and social progress and development”
India is also a major contributor to UN funds like the UN Democracy Fund that PM Manmohan Singh, US President George Bush and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan founded in 2005. India today is the second biggest contributor to the Fund to engender democratic values and processes.
India and united nation reforms
India has stressed on the importance of the United Nations as a strong international organization, which should reflect the contemporary global realities. India has been actively working with other like-minded countries for building support of UN membership for a meaningful restructuring and expansion of UNSC. Arguments have been raised that the United Nations Security Council still reflects the geopolitical architecture of the 2nd World War. Even though the number of countries that are members to the United Nations has increased from 113 to 193, the UNSC has been expanded only once that too in 1963 to add 4 non-permanent members. Nations from Africa find no place in permanent membership despite 75% of the UNSC work being focused there.
The Government of India has strongly put forward India’s case for permanent membership to the Security Council, which is based on its extensive contribution to the activities of the UN particularly the maintenance of international peace and security. So far India has taken part in 43 Peacekeeping missions with a total contribution exceeding 160,000 troops and a significant number of police personnel having been deployed. In 2014 India is the third largest troop contributor with 7,860 personnel deployed with ten UN Peacekeeping Missions.
India’s role in NAM
2018 marked the 68th anniversary of the Non-Aligned Movement. Created as an institution to counter the bipolar world order and give voice to much of the third world, the Non-Aligned Movement today remains as relevant as it was when it was founded. Today, 120 countries are are part of NAM and each of these countries represents a powerful third bloc on the world scene.
India’s role in the formation and sustenance of the NAM has been immense. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister was not only one of the founding fathers of the Movement but, he was also the driving force behind the principles NAM came to stand for. In fact, ‘Non-Alignment’ itself was a phrase coined by India’s Ambassador to the United Nations, V.K Menon.
Nehru’s efforts towards NAM were shaped by his country’s experience as a newly independent nation free from colonialism, both of which contributed significantly to many other newly independent states joining india in the movement.
Simply put, India and Nehru were the driving force behind NAM, and voiced the concerns of newly-independent nation states that were actively being coerced and persuaded by the two Cold War powers to choose between two, different political and social orders. Instead, India and NAM proposed the principle of nonalignment and a country’s freedom to choose its fate while also highlighting the fact that multilateralism, non-violence and international cooperation was at the heart of resolving international disputes.
This purpose has endured even after the demise of NAM’s original raison d’être and can be established by India’s participation in the Group of Fifteen, an informal forum meant to increase cooperation on political, economic and security issues between the developing world and the developed world, including the former superpowers.
India today, is still a major actor in international politics and much of it today, is owed to Nehru’s contribution to India’s foreign policy in the immediate years after independence. The Non-Aligned Movement was one of India’s crowning policy successes and as the world moves towards a more multipolar world, the significance of NAM cannot be overstated.
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