'Holds and blocks' in UNSC Sanctions Committees 'disguised vetoes': India's veiled jibe at China

'The working methods of anybody must respond to the challenges confronted by it. And the United Nations Security Council’s record in measuring up to the mounting challenges has been abysmal, to say the least', India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj said.
Last Updated : 24 April 2024, 06:42 IST
Last Updated : 24 April 2024, 06:42 IST

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United Nations: In a veiled jibe at China, India has said that the 'holds' placed on proposals in the UNSC sanctions committees are “disguised vetoes” on matters such as listing Pakistan-based global terrorists where some Council members will not take any responsibility.

“The working methods of anybody must respond to the challenges confronted by it. And the United Nations Security Council’s record in measuring up to the mounting challenges has been abysmal, to say the least,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj said on Tuesday.

Speaking in the UN General Assembly on the Second Anniversary of the unanimous adoption by UNGA of the ‘Veto Initiative’- Strengthening of the UN System, Kamboj said that the Security Council has used its working methods to hide vetoes and disguise them under the ad hoc working methods of its committees which act on its behalf but have little accountability.

“Those of us familiar with the work of the Sanction Committees and its tradition of putting “holds and blocks” are aware that these are disguised vetoes on matters on which some Council members will not take any responsibility, and are not required to explain their decisions,” Kamboj said.

Kamboj’s remarks appeared to be an apparent reference to China which has repeatedly put holds and blocks on proposals submitted by India and its partners like the US to designate Pakistan-based terrorists under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Security Council.

Two years ago, Resolution 76/262 was adopted in the UN General Assembly deciding that the President of the 193-member General Assembly will convene a formal meeting within 10 days of the casting of a veto by one or more permanent members of the 15-nation Security Council.

Kamboj said that the sentiment in the UNGA resolution reflecting the need to address the opaqueness of the working methods of the Council and instilling accountability is welcome but it only scratches the surface.

“While recognising the significance of these efforts, we would want these efforts to be undertaken in a manner that creates the environment for consensus building rather than finger-pointing,” she said.

Kamboj further said that it is “very clear” today that a majority of the Member States, including most of those who were not even independent at the time of the drafting of the United Nations charter, want reform and do not feel represented in the decisions of the United Nations Security Council.

“The issue of the dysfunctionality of the United Nations Security Council and the use of the veto that we are discussing is not only because the veto is being used (because after all as long as the veto exists it will likely be used), but also because of the “binary nature” of the composition of the membership of the Council, which is not reflective of contemporary realities, and therefore ensures that the Council takes decisions in a vintage ‘cold war’ mode,” she said.

India stressed, “we are all aware that issues on which the United Nations Security Council has failed to find consensus, have seen more progress and solutions outside."

The consensus arrived at the New Delhi G20 summit is one example of that,” she said, adding that unless the composition of the permanent membership of the Council is changed and made reflective of today’s realities, “diplomacy and dialogue will not get a real chance to find solutions to our challenges.”

Upon India’s initiative, the African Union became a permanent member of the G20 at the New Delhi Summit in September 2023 held under India’s Presidency of the grouping.

Kamboj added that another kind of “hidden veto” is being used in the Intergovernmental Negotiation process on UN Security Council reform.

“While differences on substance remain, some members motivated by their attachment to perpetuating the outdated status quo, simply do not allow any text to be tabled in the process,” she said.

“A veto is essentially the idea that one country or group of country’s views must take precedence over all the others in a manner which disregards a collaborative spirit, and a respect for the rules and regulations of the Organisation. And in the IGN we are witnessing a minority of nay-sayers holding the entire process of Security Council reform hostage over the last four decades,” she said.

Kamboj added that by calling for consensus before negotiations themselves, 'some countries have cast a hidden veto on a well-defined process of text-based negotiations which is indeed the bread and butter of the United Nations.'

India has been at the forefront of years-long efforts to reform the Security Council, saying it rightly deserves a place as a permanent member at the UN high table, which in its current form does not represent the geo-political realities of the 21st Century.

Currently, the UNSC has five permanent members - China, France, Russia, the UK and the US. Only a permanent member has the power to veto any substantive resolution.

Last month, India presented a detailed model on behalf of the G4 nations of Brazil, Germany, Japan and itself for Security Council reform.

The G4 model proposes that the Security Council’s membership increase from the current 15 to 25-26, by adding six permanent and four or five non-permanent members.

Published 24 April 2024, 06:42 IST

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