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Rajat Debey asked : Considering the complexities of procedure and conflicting interests, what kind of reforms in the UN Security Council can be expected in the near future?

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  • Keerthi Sampath Kumar replies: Any kind of UN Security Council reform in the near future, i.e., before the end of India’s term as a non-permanent member in the Council, is unlikely. With each group in the UN proposing their own set of demands that are not complementary to one another; be it the G4 or the African group or the Uniting for Consensus group, hopes of compromise on the structural reforms of the Council remain narrow. Deep divisions among countries on all the five tracks of ‘Intergovernmental negotiation on the question of equitable representation and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Council’ continue to prevent agreement on any permanent reform. With members reinstating their well-known positions on reforms, the fact unfortunately remains that there have been no developments in the recent past. Further, any change in the structure of the Security Council will require UN Charter amendments which will in turn necessitate vote from two-thirds of the members of the General Assembly, including all the P5 members. Consensus among the P5 on the addition of any new permanent member is currently absent and will be close to impossible to achieve in the immediate future.

    Nonetheless, all roadblocks aside, there is growing optimism at least among the Indian delegation in New York to achieve progress while India is in the Council. Though India is well-aware of the obstacles in achieving Council reforms, India wants to leave no stone unturned before its term gets over in 2013.