NEW DELHI: If India does become a new permanent member of the UN Security Council that too with veto rights — as Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Thursday that it would soon — then it will have achieved no ordinary feat, considering that New Delhi is currently busy poking China in the eye with the help of the Dalai Lama, diplomats and analysts say.
China has warned that letting the exiled spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhists into Arunachal Pradesh, which Beijing claims as its own territory, India is severely damaging the already fraught Sino-Indian ties.
According to NDTV, as the Dalai Lama toured Arunachal Pradesh, infuriating China, Chief Minister Pema Khandu, in a comment that will add to the tension, has stated that his state shares a border with “Tibet and not China”. India officially regards Tibet as an autonomous region of China, and the chief minister’s remarks would seem to negate that formulation.
India has also opposed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor claiming that it passes through the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
On her part, expressing confidence that India would become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Ms Swaraj said the country expected that the new members would have the same rights, including the veto power, as the existing permanent members.
During the question hour in Rajya Sabha, Ms Swaraj said India had all the credentials to become a permanent member of the Security Council and four permanent members, the US, UK, France and Russia, had extended support. The fifth member, China, had also “not publicly opposed it”, she was quoted as saying.
“I am confident that if not this time, then next time, India would become a permanent member of the Security Council,” she said.
The Indian minister’s confident assertion must assume Beijing’s eventual support for New Delhi’s claim for there to be any serious consideration of India’s quest for greater diplomatic acceptance. In that case the Dalai Lama-related standoff will taper off, or so New Delhi believes, since China with its veto in the UNSC could become difficult to persuade.
In response to a question whether India would also get the ‘veto’ power, Ms Swaraj said the country wanted the same responsibilities, prerogatives as well as obligations, as the current permanent members.
“We don’t want any discrimination between old and new members. We don’t want two classes – that there is a first class and a second class of permanent members. This should make it clear that India wants the same responsibilities, prerogatives and obligations as the current permanent members,” she said.
Press Trust of India quoted her as saying that India has been making diplomatic efforts to ensure not only expansion but also reform in the Security Council. She said India wanted expansion of its permanent as well as non-permanent membership of the council.
In her reply tabled in the House, Ms Swaraj said on the issue of extending veto powers to new permanent members in their submission during the inter-governmental negotiation process of the 69th General Assembly, USA and UK opposed extension of veto to new members.
France supported the extension while Russia and China did not make any submission on the issue, PTI quoted her as saying.
She said discussions were currently on in the UN General Assembly through inter-governmental negotiation and India and other pro-reform groupings have been calling commencement of text based negotiations.
Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2017