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Short-sightedness of permanent members holding back UN Security Council reform: EAM Jaishankar

In an interactive session at the Raisina Dialogue, he said the 'biggest' opponent for reform of the UN Security Council is not a Western country, in remarks seen as an oblique reference to China.
Last Updated 22 February 2024, 15:20 IST

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday suggested that the 'short-sighted' approach of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council is holding back forward movement in the long-pending reform of the global body.

In an interactive session at the Raisina Dialogue, he said the 'biggest' opponent for reform of the UN Security Council is not a Western country, in remarks seen as an oblique reference to China.

The external affairs minister said the sentiments for changes in the UN system is 'very strong, but the challenge has been to get the concurrence for it from certain quarters'.

"If you are going to ask five countries saying would you mind changing the rules that you would have less power, guess what the answer is going to be," he said.

"If they are wise, the answer would be something else. If they are short-sighted, the answer is what it is today," he said.

The five permanent members are Russia, the UK, China, France and the US and these countries can veto any substantive resolution.

There has been growing demand to increase the number of permanent members to reflect the contemporary global reality.

India, Brazil, South Africa, Germany and Japan are strong contenders for permanent membership of the UNSC which has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

"When the UN was invented, it had approximately 50 members. We have four times the members. So it is a common sense proposition that you can't continue the same way when you have four times the members," Jaishankar said.

Asked about various complex geopolitical challenges and diverse positions on them by key nations, he said the endeavour has to be to find middle ground.

If you take UN Security Council reform, the biggest opponent is not a Western country, Jaishankar said.

"So let's get the totality of the problem. I think the reality is we will have to battle bit by bit to create groups which will push for change," he said.

"On many issues, you will get different combinations of countries and we'll have to live with a long period of incremental progress before we get to some kind of landing point," he said.

The Raisina Dialogue is India's flagship conference on geopolitics and geo-strategy. The three-day conference began on Wednesday.

The theme of the three-day conference is 'Chaturanga: Conflict, Contest, Cooperate, Create'.

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(Published 22 February 2024, 15:20 IST)

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