Global Policy Forum

India: Statement by the Mission to the UN


Reform and improvements are an intrinsic part of any organization which has to serve the needs of a changing environment. The United Nations is no exception. India supports a strengthened and revitalized United Nations with its various organs functioning within their mandates in accordance with the UN Charter. India supports an enhanced role for the United Nations in development and development cooperation dialogue. India firmly believes that development should be central to UN's agenda and be pursued in its own right. It is an indispensable prerequisite to the maintenance of international peace and security.

India has actively participated in all reforms and restructuring exercises that could enhance the capacity of the UN in the fulfilment of its primary tasks. India actively supported the establishment of UNICEF on a permanent basis, the creation of the UN Development Programme, establishment of UNEP and restructuring of the UN in the economic and social fields. It was also represented in the High Level Expert Group established by the UN Secretary-General in the mid-nineties on the financing of the UN. It participated constructively in the discussions on the Agenda for Peace and the Agenda for Development. India was also one of the co-Chair of the Working Group on Strengthening of the United Nations.

India has been supportive of the UN Secretary-General Mr. Kofi Annan's reform proposals. While some of these have been agreed and implemented, discussions continue on others. An important proposal is the holding of the Millennium Assembly. India believes that the Millennium Assembly must identify concrete goals for the promotion of development cooperation and disarmament and must also provide the United Nations with the required resources to effectively tackle these challenges.

India shares the concerns for improving efficiency, avoidance of duplication, and the minimization of waste in the functioning of the entire UN system. While efforts for these objectives need to be intensified, India believes that the Member States should pay their contributions unconditionally, in full and on time, as delays in payments have caused an unprecedented financial crisis in the UN system. Contributions of the Member States should have, as their fundamental underpinning, the capacity to pay principle. Financial reforms hold the key to the future of the world body. Without sufficient resources, the UN's activities and role would suffer.

The United Nations as a universal forum should have as its guiding principles transparency, non-discrimination, consensus, and equal respect for the dignity of all individuals, societies and nations. Be it world trade, environment and development, resolution of the global debt crisis, or economic assistance for the poorest members of the world community, these values have to be the touchstone of global initiatives and actions.

The composition of the Security Council has remained largely static, while the UN General Assembly membership has expanded considerably. This has undermined the representative character of the Council. An expanded Council, which is more representative, will also enjoy greater political authority and legitimacy.

In 1965, the membership of the Security Council was expanded from 11 to 15. There was no change in the number of permanent members. Since then, the size of the Council has remained frozen. Even more dramatic than the increase in the number of Member States of the UN, is the change in composition of the General Assembly. The overwhelming majority of the UN General Assembly members today are developing countries. They are also, most often the objects of the Council's actions. They must have a role in shaping those decisions which affect them. The present composition of the Security Council, particularly the permanent members' category, is weighted heavily in favour of industrialized countries. This imbalance must be redressed in an expansion of the Council, by enhancing the representation of developing countries in both permanent and non-permanent members' categories.

Activities of the Security Council have greatly expanded in the past few years. The success of Security Council's actions depends upon political support of the international community. Any package for restructuring of the Security Council should, therefore, be broad-based. In particular, adequate presence of developing countries is needed in the Security Council. Nations of the world must feel that their stakes in global peace and prosperity are factored into the UN's decision making.

Any expansion of permanent members' category must be based on an agreed criteria, rather than be a pre-determined selection. There must be an inclusive approach based on transparent consultations. India supports expansion of both permanent and non-permanent members' category. The latter is the only avenue for the vast majority of Member States to serve on the Security Council. Reform and expansion must be an integral part of a common package.


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