7 Oct 2010
UN Security Council Seat for India! At what Price?
By K N Pandita

President Obama will be visiting our country in November. Preliminaries of the impending visit are being worked out at Washington and New Delhi. Observers think it will be a path breaking visit.

Euphoric segments have always said that US Presidential visit to India carries great significance. In reality, no visit of top level echelon has been extraordinarily significant. Washington has always towed the policy of maintaining parity between India and Pakistan.

Print media has indicated that President Obama is going to put a condition to supporting India’s candidature for a seat at the UN Security Council. The condition is that India resolves Kashmir tangle.

It is not yet clear if that is the precise thinking at the top level of US administration or that it is one of the propositions originating with the presidential think-tank.

At one point of time under pressure from the Generals in Islamabad, Washington tried to link Kashmir with Af-Pak war. The intention was to blackmail India into making concessions to the jihadis and separatists in Kashmir and win the favour of Pakistani Generals in America’s war on Taliban-Al Qaeda combine.

Later course of events on the warfront in Af-Pak region made it clear to Washington that Pakistani Generals were pursing a two-track policy. Eyebrows were raised in the Congress forcing the Secretary of State as well as the US Defence Secretary to impress upon Pakistan to do more.

There was some relent in Washington’s pressures. But now changing its tactics, ISI fomented civil uprising in Kashmir on one or the other pretext. Simultaneous with the turmoil in the valley, Pakistan launched propaganda blitzkrieg on international platforms raising the question of so-called human rights violations in Kashmir. ISI sponsored agencies vigorously campaigned with western NGOs to highlight Kashmir rights violations to denigrate India. This worked perfect and a number of NGOs known for their anti-India stance did shoot resolutions to the UN bodies and world human rights organizations. One Pakistan sponsored NGO in the US organized two major international seminars in which a large number of India baiters, including some known pro-militancy advocates from J&K participated. Nearer home, these advocates organized seminars and symposia to magnify Kashmir situation and give it unprecedented media hype.

All this worked and now Washington has made India’s admittance to the Security Council conditional to solving Kashmir issue. This exposes the hypocrisy of the United States in making repeated pronouncements that she does not interfere in Kashmir tangle and plays neutral role between India and Pakistan. She has been claiming that she is willing to assist the two countries to come to some understanding on the resolution of the tangle. These tall claims are belied one and all by Washington’s demand that India compromise her position on Kashmir in return of seat in Security Council.

The fact of the matter is that conditions have changed drastically on the platform of international strategies. The UN has lost much of its shine and credibility with world community especially the third world. The war on Argentina, Iraq and Afghanistan has tarnished the image of the UN as a major neutral world organization. Security Council’s status and power had been watered down by its outrageous threats to Iran. The fact of the matter is that Iran has cut both the US and the Security Council to their size. Security Council’s failure to bring some semblance of peace to Middle East tells upon its utility to world community.

Under these circumstances, reasonably India, too, has serious doubts about the Security Council as something from where justice can flow. In the heart of hearts, New Delhi does not find extraordinary attraction to occupy a seat at the Security Council.

It will be noted that ever since Brazil, Germany, Japan and India staked claim to Security Council membership, three big western powers made suggestions of diluting the powers of new entrants so that these are not precisely the same that they are enjoying for themselves. In particular, they want dilution of veto power to new incumbent permanent members.

This is blatant discrimination, something that is not compatible with the basics of the United Nations principles. The member-candidates will never be prepared to accept a down graded status at the Security Council.

President Obama needs to be told that it was Pakistan which defied the Security Council’s Resolution of 1948 and 1949, and yet the US closed her eye to it. When the US has not respected the credibility of the Security Council, it has no right to ask India to resolve Kashmir issue before being supported for membership of SC. In fact, President Obama should ask Pakistan to vacate the parts of J&K illegally occupied by her in accordance with the resolutions of the Security Council. Even Pakistan must get area vacated which belongs to original J&K but has been ceded by her to China.

Lastly there is already resentment among third world country members of UN’s discriminatory treatment of them by super powers. They have been demanding equitable representation on various UN organizations and bodies. There have been shrill notes at times, and in principle, the UN has realized the need of structural reorganization. That should precede the issue of restructuring the Security Council. And when that happens, India will have the support of a large number of third world countries to stake claim for the membership of the Security Council. 

No country is ever heard to have compromised its territorial integrity for the sake of membership in this or that organization howsoever powerful and influential. As a fast developing economic power in Asia, India has a position of her own despite membership or no membership anywhere.

K N Pandita served for a long time as professor in the Persian Department and the Centre of Central Asian Studies at the Jammu and Kashmir University. He has authored several books including My Tajik Friends, Iran and Central Asia, and Baharistan-i-Shahi.

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