By C K George*
New Delhi May 02 (IVC) In an angry speech over the delay of UN Reforms , Indian representativ in the UN, Ms Ruchira Kamboja recently in New York lashed out the UN System with the most scathing attack thus far. In her speech, she pointed out that another year of meetings on reforming the UN and particularly the question of expansion of the Security Council coming to a close next month. The Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) for reforming the UN was begun in 2008 and now in its 15th year. A draft text of the reforms proposed was presented in 2015 and there is little indications that negotiations on the basis of the text will in the near future. The UN has chosen to “rollover” the discussions of the IGN which are looking at five major issues : (a) Enlarging the Security Council (b) Categories of membership (c) The question of the veto that the five permanent members wield(d) Regional representation (e) Redistributing the Security Council-General Assembly power balance. UN Two In her speech at the UN Security Council, Ms Kamboja described the UN Security Counil’s Charter as “anachronistic”. It (UN) has failed in handling successfully COVID-19 Pandemic, the Ukraine war, Terrorism and Climate Changed, she added. India’s Permanent Representative, Kamboja was speaking at a session convened by Russia that called for discussion on how to make multilateralism effective by defending the UN Charter. “ Can we practice effective multilateralism by defending a Charter that makes five nations more equal than others, and provides to each of those five , the power to ignore the collective will of the remaining 1 88 member states”? she asked. She stressed the need for expansion of the Security Council’s permanent membership and hit out at the veto power given to the US, the UK, Frances, the USSR and China. The veto carrying permanent members of the Security Council can hardly claim adequate representation of the world’s leadership today and veto is obsolete under the present global situation. To quote Winston Churchill who had said “ Veto is a shield for the big nations and a mockery for the small countries”. More Ivc ckg
UN Three India was one of the 50 signatories of the UN Charter at its beginning itself in 1945. Though China was admitted to the UN in 1971 only, it was made a permanent member in the Security Council and given veto power on par with the other permanent members.
The UNSC permanent veto carrying members chosen by virtue of being “winners” of the World War II, the US, UK, Fraance and the USSR. If the criterion for giving veto power to the winners of the World War II. India has every right to be a permanent member in the Security Council with veto power in all respects. Indian Army causalities, were high in the Second World War amounting to 1,49,225 between September One 1939 and February 28, 1945. India had 2,32,000 troops (1,60,000 Indian soldiers including 16000 British officers and Men and 72,000 with the princely states) when the World War II broke out on Sep 03, 1939 and it swelled to a tad over two-and-a-half million when the War ended on Sept 12, 1945.More Ivc ckg
UN Four ; Indian troops had fought several battles during the World War II for the United Kingdom. Italians fighting in Eritrea in 1941 , the Fifth Indian division stormed the height from the North while a British Force pushed from the South. On May 18, 1941 , the Italian viceroy and the entire Italian force surrendered to the Indian Division.
Even the India-hating Winston Churchill conceded : “The whole empire has been stirred by the achievement of Indian forces in Eritrea”. In the subsequent mop-up operation, the Second Lieutenant P S Bhagat won the Victoria Cross. Another critical strategic battle Indian troops fought for the UK in 1941 was in Iran. The Indian troops while fighting in North Africa were pressed into an incredibly rapid invasion of Iran. Two Indian battalions made an amphibious crossing of the Shatt al-Arab and captured the Persian Oil rigs in Abadan. The conquest of Persia secured oil supplies for the entire Allied war effort and the credit for it goes entirely to the Indian troops. Sir Claude Auchinleck, who had commanded the Indian troops in the Middle East said later, the British “couldn’t have come through both world Wars if they hadn’t had the Indian Army. Another tougher task was how the oil will pump out from Persia, reach the Russian front. The job of opening a supply line from the Middle East to Russia was also entrusted with the Indian Command.
A Persian and Iraq force consisting mostly of Indian troops developed ports, roads and canal routes stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Arctic reaches of Russia through which tens of thousands of Indian soldiers carried 62,000 tones of aid. Later in 1944 the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR awarded the prestigious Order of the Red Star to Subedar Narayana Rao Nikkim and to Havildar Gajendra Sing Chand of the Indian Army Service Corps.
Besides, 6,300 gallantry decorations were awarded to Indian soldiers, including 31 Victoria Crosses, the highest military gallantry honor, who had participated in the World War II for the United Kingdom.
UN Five last The stumbling block for the UN reforms was that the P-5 were not willing to reduce their power in the UN though the UK and Russia are not eligible for retaining veto now.
The obfuscating attitude of the veto carrying permanent members of the Security Council failed to achieve the objectives of the UNO. The veto carrying countries like the K and Russia could not be called big powers under the present global situation and should show readiness to surrender it for the materialization of the reforms as there is no provision in the UN charter too take away the veto power once it was accorded. The veto was given to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) and not to Russia and now USSR is no more and hence there is no moral and legal right for Russia to retain veto. Similarly, the United Kingdom also could not claim a big power now and retain veto. The only way to materialize the reforms in the UN would be to surrender the veto carrying powers it and recast the UN Charter on the basis of democratic principles. If the permanent members of the Security Council persisted on retaining the veto, the UNO would also go to the fate of the League of Nations shortly. The remaining 188 members of the UNO can stand like an unimportant character of a Shakespearean tragedy at t he fall of the UNO. It would be apt to quote the Gospel according to Luke for behavior of the Permanent Members in the Security Council “ Woe to you lawyers ., for you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves and you hindered those who were entering”(Chap 11-5 2) Ivc ckg
· Former PTI Reporter.