Wednesday, January 5, 2011

India in Elite League : UN Security Council Membership


The New Year has brought in something to cheer and India is in league with Germany, Portugal, South Africa and Columbia……  can you find the link !!

After 19 long years, India has its place in UN Security Council as a new non-permanent member for a two-year term and the other Nations mentioned above too took their places in the powerful 15 member body of the United Nations.  The General Assembly elected Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa to serve as non-permanent members of the Security Council for two-year terms starting on 1 January 2011. The newly elected countries have replaced Austria, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Uganda.


The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action. Its powers are exercised through United Nations Security Council Resolutions. There are 15 members of the Security Council, consisting of five veto-wielding permanent members (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and 10 elected non-permanent members with two-year terms. This basic structure is set out in Chapter V of the UN Charter. Security Council members must always be present at UN headquarters in New York so that the Security Council can meet at any time.   The five permanent members of the Security Council are also the only countries recognized as nuclear-weapon states (NWS) under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. However, membership of the UN Security Council is not dependent on nuclear weapons status.

The first resolution of the UN Security council was setting up of the  Military Staff Committee (MSC), the subsidiary body of United Nations Security Council  for planning UN military operations and assist in the regulation of armaments

The second one came immediately in 1946 in the wake of Iran crisis also known as the Iran-Azerbaijan Crisis, stemming out of  the Soviet Union's refusal to relinquish occupied Iranian territory.

Now coming back to Indian entry to this corridor of power, Membership of the United Nations Security Council is held by the five permanent members and ten elected (non-permanent) members. Elected members hold their place on the Council for a two-year term, and half of these places are contested each year. To ensure geographical continuity, a certain number of members is allocated for each of the five unofficial UN regional groupings.  The 2010 United Nations Security Council election was held on 12 October 2010 during the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly

The two year mandate commenced on 1st Jan 2011.    The 5 available seats were : one each for Africa, Asia, Latin America and two for Western European and others group, earlier held by Uganda, Japan, Mexico, Austria and Turkey  respectively.   As it happens with many elections, India ran uncontested for Asian seat after  Kazakhstan stood aside. South Africa and  Columbia also were unopposed.   For WEOG group – Germany, Canada and Portugal contested.   The results of the first round were : India 187, SA 182 and Columbia 186;

Germany 128; Portugal 122 and Canada 114.  Germany was elected as they passed the two-thirds majority.  In round 2, Portugal garnered 113 against Canada’s 78.  Following this round of voting Canada officially withdrew its candidacy.  After round 3, Portugal got 150 and Canada 32 – this was because the  withdrawal of candidacy is not binding and member states may vote for any state they please.


The UN's role in international collective security is defined by the UN Charter, which gives the Security Council the power to:
        Investigate any situation threatening international peace;
        Recommend procedures for peaceful resolution of a dispute;
        Call upon other member nations to completely or partially interrupt economic relations as well as sea, air, postal, and radio communications, or to sever diplomatic relations;
        Enforce its decisions militarily, or by any means necessary;
        Avoid conflict and maintain focus on cooperation.
They also recommend the new Secretary-General to the General Assembly.

Now the 15 Countries that feature in the UN Security Council are :
1)     China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States (permanent members)
2)     Brazil, Bosnia & Herzegovnia, Lebanon, Gabon & Nigeria (till 2011)
3)     India, Germany, Portugal, South Africa and Columbia (2012)

Good news, in many ways……………..

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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