December 17, 2010 Category : Higher Studies
It is an irony that India first rejected the UNSC(United Nations Security Council) seat and is now begging for it.
When the USA, UK and Soviet Union were willing to give UN Security Council's permanent membership to India in 1955, Nehru rejected the offer and suggested it should go to China.
"He (Jawaharlal Nehru) rejected the Soviet offer to propose India as the sixth permanent member of the Security Council and insisted that priority be given to China's admission to the United Nations"
S. Gopal: Jawaharlal Nehru;
Volume II; page 248.
From the Selected Works of Jawaharlal Nehru , Series II, Volume 29, Minutes of meeting with Soviet Leaders, Moscow ,22 June 1955, page 231, here are the minutes of the conversation between Jawaharlal Nehru and Soviet Premier Marshal Bulganin, as quoted in Claude Arpi's Born in Sin: The Panchsheel Agreement (Mittal Publications, Delhi, 2004, ISBN 81-7099-974-X):
'Bulganin: While we are discussing the general international situation and reducing tension, we propose suggesting at a later stage India's inclusion as the sixth member of the Security Council.
Nehru: Perhaps Bulganin knows that some people in the USA have suggested that India should replace China in the Security Council. This is to create trouble between us and China. We are, of course, wholly opposed to it. Further, we are opposed to pushing ourselves forward to occupy certain positions because that may itself create difficulties and India might itself become a subject of controversy. If India is to be admitted to the Security Council it raises the question of the revision of the Charter of the UN. We feel that this should not be done till the question of China's admission and possibly of others is first solved. I feel that we should first concentrate on getting China admitted.'
Those were the halcyon days of Hindi-Chini-bhai-bhai. To paraphrase Jyoti Basu, in hindsight, this was a 'historic blunder'. India has wasted incredible amounts of energy trying to rectify this blunder and get itself into the Security Council. But it's quite apparent that if India ever gets a seat it will be a worthless seat. It reminds me of Woody Allen's] observation that he'd never want to be a member of any club that would actually admit him.
Again, going back to the NPT as well as the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, it hasn't particularly hurt India that it has stayed outside these discriminatory treaties, despite much wagging of fingers by others. Similarly, certain neutral States have remained outside the UN: if I am not mistaken, Switzerland famously doesn't join anything, and is not a UN member. Just as Norway has refused to join the European Union.
India has been over-eager to join various motley crews, for instance the banana-republic kaffeeklatsch of the Non-Aligned Movement. Championing various causes for the 'Third World' may have given an ego-boost to certain Indians, but it won India no brownie points. For instance, a resolution condemning India for intervening in the genocide in the then-East Pakistan in 1971 won by a resounding 104 votes to 11. So much for NAM gratitude to India, a pious fiction believed only by South Block. Similarly ungrateful is the UN.
On top of all this is the enormous waste of the UN bureaucracy. By latching on to the generous mammaries of the UN welfare state, many consultants have become wealthy. Graham Hancock's damning 1989 expose, Lords of Poverty: The Power, Prestige, and Corruption of the International Aid Business, estimated that most of the $60 billion plus that comprised governmental, UN, and World Bank or IMF-type 'aid' was siphoned off. Mostly by elites in poor nations with their Swiss accounts, special interests (like agribusiness in donor countries, which dump their subsidised excess produce), but also, startlingly, the aid agencies' own personnel budgets, which waste as much as 80 per cent of the funds for lavish (first-class) travel, salaries, and perquisites. Similarly with the UN's extremely generous salaries and benefits.
Is there any good reason to keep on paying through the nose for a body that doesn't do India any good or give India any respect?
It's time for India to say, 'We're out of here!' if the UN continues to treat it shabbily. The return on investment to India of being in this failing body is not high; it is falling apart anyway under the weight of its own internal contradictions. Therefore, India should give the UN an ultimatum, and walk out if it is not satisfied.