India has won a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) after a gap of 19 years. It has been on the UNSC six times before-having last served in 1992. In the Tuesday voting India got an overwhelming 187 votes against the necessary 128 votes in the 192-member UN General Assembly. The 187 votes India received was the highest among the countries standing for election as non-permanent members. According to Indian UN Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, even his Pakistani counterpart Hussain Haroon voted for India. India was standing unopposed for the Asia seat after Kazakhstan withdrew from the race. India’s two-year term on the UNSC will start in January.
Apart from India, Germany, Colombia and Portugal and South Africa also made it to the Security Council. For South Africa this will be second successive two-year term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. South Africa’s minister for International Relations and former High Commissioner to India Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said, “South Africa is humbled, and at the same time delighted by the overwhelming support it received from the member states of the United Nations during these elections”.
Talking about India’s objectives, foreign minister S. M. Krishna promised to be a voice of “moderation and constructive engagement’. He said, “Our immediate priorities in the council will include peace and stability in our near and extended neighbourhood’, in a clear reference to India’s security concerns in Afghanistan.
The US, one of five permanent members of the Council, has welcomed India’s election along with other emerging economies like South Africa, and hoped they would play a constructive role in resolving key global issues.
Joshua E. Keating, deputy Web Editor at Foreign Policy magazine wrote in an article titled ‘Insecurity Council’ (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/10/11/insecurity_council) that it’s not just a political windfall. ‘Studies have shown that temporary Security Council members receive 59 percent more U.S. aid than nonmembers and are 20 percent more likely to get help from the International Monetary Fund during their two-year term and for a couple of years afterward’, says Keating.
Though a permanent seat on the UNSC still seems far, this victory gives India a unique opportunity to push forward its view point in the world’s largest political debates.