Justice Markandey Katju: India’s quest for a permanent UNSC seat

Justice Markandey Katju

By Justice Markandey Katju–

(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

The United Nations has 193 members in its General Assembly and 15 members in its Security Council (UNSC), of which 5 are permanent members with veto powers, viz USA, UK, France, Russia, and China. India has been demanding a permanent seat in the UNSC for several decades.

The Union Foreign Minister Jaishankar recently expressed confidence that India will soon get the elusive permanent seat, but I regret I cannot share his optimism.

We have a population of about 1.4 billion, while the UK and France, both with just 67 million (2021 census) people, have permanent seats. Our demand seems to be clearly justified.

The truth, however, is that we will not be given a permanent seat for many many years, however much we may shout and scream about it.

Why? Some say it is because of China. Others attribute it to Pakistan. The truth is something else.

As long as we are a poor nation, we will never be given a permanent seat at the UNSC. The way of the world is that the poor are never given respect. As long long as we remain poor we will not be properly recognized by the global community, whatever we may think of ourselves, and however much we may proclaim that we have the fastest growing economy in the world.

Developed countries look down on Indians, not because the color of our skin, but because we are poor. Of course the developed countries are too sophisticated, and so will not say so openly, but their conduct reveals it, and one piece of evidence is that they do not give us a UNSC permanent seat, despite some people’s claim that our leader is a ‘Vishwa guru’.

When China was a poor country, their people were called the ‘yellow race’ by westerners. Today China is a highly industrialized, powerful nation, and nobody dare call the Chinese that.

So if we want respect in the world community and a permanent seat at the UNSC, we have to make India a powerful, industrialized and prosperous country with its people enjoying a high standard of living. All patriotic people must think out ways and means of achieving that end.

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