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Ajai Vir asked: Given the fact that the US support leverages India's position at the UNSC, can our foreign policy be termed as truly independent?

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  • Cherian Samuel replies: While there are compelling arguments both for and against the proposition, the empirical evidence, and this is something the United States cites repeatedly, lies in the voting record of India at the United Nations. A perusal of this shows that India has voted against resolutions supported by the United States more often than not. The voting record in the Security Council is more nuanced since many of the resolutions are brought to the floor only after a consensus has been reached among the members. In most cases, draft resolutions are voted out so they do not become a part of the official record. In the year since India became a non-permanent member of the UNSC, of the 67 resolutions that have been brought before the UNSC, it has abstained just once. 64 out of the 67 have been passed unanimously.

    India was joined in abstaining on Resolution 1973 (authorising the use of a no-fly-zone over Libya) by China, Russia, Brazil, and Germany. While it is a coincidence that the so-called BRIC countries are together at the same time in the Security Council, they have merged as a formidable bloc, resisting US and Western pressures. Therefore, it would be incorrect to say that the United States has successfully leveraged India’s position in the UN Security Council to its advantage.