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THE MAKING OF AN OFFICER
Who are the Group of Four (G-4) Countries?
The G4 is a grouping of Brazil, Germany, India and Japan which are aspiring to become permanent members of the UNSC.
The G4 countries are supporting each other’s bids for permanent membership of the UNSC.
The G4 nations traditionally meet on the sidelines of the annual high-level UN General Assembly session.
Unlike the G7, where the common denominator is the economy and long-term political motives, the G4's primary aim is the permanent member seats on the Security Council.
Each of these four countries have figured among the elected non- permanent of the council since the UN's establishment. Their economic and political influence has grown significantly in the last decades, reaching a scope comparable to the permanent members (P5).
Why is there a Need for UNSC Reforms?
UN represents a larger world and the irony is that it has only 5 permanent members in its important body.
The current composition of the Security Council represents the post-World War II realities and thus is not in pace with the changing balance of power in the world.
At the time of the formation of the UNSC, big powers were given privileges to make them part of the council. This was necessary for its proper functioning as well as to avoid failure like that of the organization ‘League of Nations.
The regions like Far East Asia, South America, and Africa have no representation in the permanent membership of the council.
Why is India Demanding the Permanent Membership of the UNSC?
For the first 40 years of the UN Security Council's formation, India never asked for permanent membership.
Even in 1993 when India submitted its written proposal to the UN in response to the General Assembly resolution related to reforms, it did not specifically state that it wants permanent membership for itself.
It is only from the last few years that India has started asking for permanent membership in the council.
India deserves a permanent place in the council considering the size of its economy, population and the fact that it is the largest democracy in the world.
India has become a major player not only in Asia but also in the world.
The Security Council would be a more representative body if India would be there in it as a permanent member.
By having veto power, one can enjoy enormous powers.
Since 2009, India was trying to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. One veto power of China kept delaying it.
India will be able to work better for its interests.
There was a time when the USSR actually started boycotting the UNSC and that was the time when US managed to get the resolution passed for the Korean War. From that time onwards USSR realized that it doesn’t make sense to boycott the UN. It needs to keep veto if at all resolution is against them.
India’s presence as a permanent member will be an acknowledgement of its rise as a global power, ready to play a key role in the council’s objectives of international peace and security.
India will be able to enjoy the 'prestige’ associated with the permanent membership of the council.
International View Point: G-4 Membership
The United Kingdom and France have backed the G4's bid for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council.
Japan has support from the United States and the United Kingdom also.
China has adopted a stand which opposes India’s bid for the UNSC. It I unlikely to support India’s bid for permanent membership in the UNSC.
Pakistan opposes any additional permanent members. Italy/Pakistan-led Uniting for Consensus (UfC) group has proposed a new category of members, not permanent but with longer duration and a possibility to get re-elected once.
China is part of the veto-wielding permanent five members which also include the US, Russia, France and the UK.
G4 members had earlier said they were willing to forgo veto power for UNSC membership.
As India pushed hard for the reform of the UNSC in the last few years, staking its claim for the permanent membership, China struck an ambivalent stand saying that it understands New Delhi's aspiration to play a bigger role in the UN but has remained non-committal on its support.
Global power hierarchies are changing and the P5 needs to realize that this is high time to initiate UNSC reforms. The declining powers should either give away their membership or should expand the size of the UNSC, opening the doors for new emerging powers.
Other reforms might succeed earlier than the expansion of P5. None of the so-called powerful nations wants to expand the table and share their pie with another nation.
India needs to focus on strengthening itself economically, militarily & diplomatically in order to participate in major conversations and groupings. Steadily, the UNSC will itself deem India fit to become a part of the UNSC.
India’s Contribution to the United Nations
India was among the select members of the United Nations that signed the Declaration by United Nations at Washington on 1 January 1942 and participated in the historic UN Conference of International Organization at San Francisco from 25 April to 26 June 1945.
As a founding member of the United Nations, India strongly supports the purposes and principles of the UN and has made significant contributions to implementing the goals of the Charter, and the evolution of the UN’s specialized programmes and agencies.
India’s deepening engagement with the United Nations is based on its steadfast commitment to multilateralism and dialogue as the key for achieving shared goals and addressing common challenges. India strongly believes that the United Nations and the norms of international relations that it has fostered remain the most efficacious means for tackling today's global challenges including those related to sustainable development, poverty eradication, environment, climate change, peace building and peacekeeping, terrorism, disarmament, human rights, migration and health and pandemics.
India favours a comprehensive reform of the United Nations and its institutions, to make them reflective of 21st century realities, thereby facilitating stronger collective action.
Indian Contribution to United Nations Peacekeeping
India has a long and distinguished history of service in UN peacekeeping, having contributed more personnel than any other country. To date, more than 244,500 Indians have served in 49 of the 71 UN peacekeeping missions established around the world since 1948.
Medical care is among the many services Indian peacekeepers provide to the communities in which they serve on behalf of the Organization. They also perform specialized tasks such as veterinary support and engineering services
India has a long tradition of sending women on UN peacekeeping missions. In 2007, India became the first country to deploy an all-women contingent for Formed Police Unit to the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia.
The Indian contingent in South Sudan has gone the extra mile by providing vocational training and life-saving medical assistance, as well as carrying out significant road repair work.
India has also provided 15 Force Commanders to various missions, and was the first country to contribute to the Trust Fund on sexual exploitation and abuse, which was set up in 2016.
India’s longstanding service has not come without cost. 170 Indian peacekeepers have paid the ultimate price while serving with the United Nations. India has lost more peacekeepers than any other Member State.
India strongly advocates the process of reform and restructuring of the UN to make it better equipped to effectively respond to the evolving needs of its membership, particularly developing countries. The expansion of the Security Council and improvement of its working methods must be integral part of Security Council Reform.
The international effort against terrorism is a key priority for India in the UN. Terrorism is a global phenomenon whose destructive potential and lethal reach is enhanced by linkages to illicit trafficking in drugs and small arms, and international money laundering operations.
Domestic measures alone cannot deal with terrorism as long as countries continue to provide safe havens for terrorists, therefore, to be effective, the fight against terrorism must be long- term, sustained and global; it must tackle not just the perpetrators of the acts but also those who sponsor them.
On human rights, India advocates a holistic and integrated approach that emphasizes the inter-dependence, inter-relatedness, indivisibility and university of human rights. India’s position reinforces the inter-relationship between democracy, development, human rights and international cooperation for development. India’s participation in debates within the UN on this topic are guided both by India’s status as the world’s largest democracy, and by its experiences as a large developing country.
Representation in UN Bodies
India enjoys strong goodwill and support at the UN and has been elected to several UN bodies. In the last few years, India was elected to the Human Right Council (HRC), Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), International Court of Justice (ICJ), UN Board of Auditors, Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), International Law Commission (ILC) and Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), among others.
Development and Economic issues
Over the decades, India has urged the UN to play a more active role and be more effective in pursuing a more equitable international order and an economic environment that is conducive to rapid economic growth and development in developing countries. In the context of the new globalized system, India has also actively urged the UN to work to ensure that developing countries can harness the benefits of these processes in an equitable manner.
The United Nations is facing different kinds of challenges of current humanitarian and economic losses with the changed geopolitical order. The UN needs to be more responsive with timely and relevant reforms to strengthen its effectiveness and credibility as a multilateral organisation.
India can conserve its diplomatic capital at the UN and expend it on building domestic capacity and influencing the way in which the UN functions and this perhaps will allow India to exercise the kind of influence it desires at the UN, with or without reforms
Who are the Group of Four (G-7) Countries?
G-7 is a bloc of industrialized democracies i.e. France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States, and Canada.
The world's biggest population and second-biggest economy, China has relatively low levels of wealth per head of population. Thus it is not considered as an advanced economy like other G7 members. Hence, China is not a member of G7.
It is an intergovernmental organisation that was formed in 1975.
The bloc meets annually to discuss issues of common interest like global economic governance, international security and energy policy.
The G7 was known as the ‘G8’ for several years after the original seven were joined by Russia in 1997.
The Group returned to being called G7 after Russia was expelled as a member in 2014 following the latter’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine.
France, West Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States formed the Group of Six in 1975 to provide a venue for the industrialized democracies to address pressing economic concerns.
In 1976, Canada was also invited to join the group and the first meeting with all G-7 nations was hosted by the United States which was held in Puerto Rico in 1976.
The European Union has participated fully in the G-7 since 1981 as a "non enumerated" member.
It is represented by the presidents of the European Council, which represents the EU member states leaders, and the European Commission (the E.U.’s executive branch).
The G-7 was known as the G-8 for several years after the original seven were joined by Russia in 1997. The inclusion of USSR in G-7 was meant as a signal of cooperation between East and West after the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991.
The group returned to being called G-7 after Russia was expelled as a member in 2014 following the annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine.
There are no formal criteria for membership, but participants are all highly developed democracies.
How does the Summit Participation take place?
Summits are held annually and hosted on a rotation basis by the group's members. The host country not only holds the G7 presidency but also sets the agenda for the year.
Invitation to Global leaders is sent by the host nation to participate in summit as special invitees. Countries like China, India, Mexico and Brazil have attended the summits on various occasions.
The leaders of important international organizations like European Union, IMF, World Bank and the United Nations are also invited.
Challenges and Concerns
Internally the G7 has a number of disagreements, e.g. clash of the USA with other members over taxes on imports and action on climate change.
The organisation has also been criticised for not reflecting the current state of global politics or economics.
There are no G7 members from Africa, Latin America or the southern hemisphere.
It is also facing a challenge from fast-growing emerging economies, like India and Brazil are not members of the G7.
What is the Difference between G-7 and G-20?
G-20 was founded in 1999 after the Asian financial crisis in 1997-1998, it initially started off as a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors.
However, as a response to the financial crisis of 2008, the G-20 was upgraded to head of state level in an inaugural summit in Washington, D.C.
While the G-7 mainly has to do with politics, the G-20 is a broader group that focuses on the global economy.
It’s also known as the “Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy” and G20 members represent more than 80% of the global GDP.
Apart from the G-7 countries, the G-20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey.
India and G-7
India is a natural ally for the G7.
The Prime Minister of India called for a “one earth, one health” approach to deal with the global pandemic of COVID-19 and also highlighted India’s commitment to finding a “collective” solution to global health situations.
In order to boost vaccine production in countries like India, he emphasized maintaining open supply chains for procuring vaccine raw materials. The Prime Minister also sought support from G7 nations for the TRIPS waiver proposal moved by India and South Africa at the WTO. The waiver is expected to increase the production of vaccines in India.
The participation of India in the summits is a reflection of deepening strategic partnership and recognition of India as a major economic power.
While India has found the European Union a difficult jurisdiction to navigate diplomatically, a better relationship between India and EU is emerging as a policy priority under G7.
India’s ability to safeguard its core sovereign concerns such as trade, Kashmir issue and India’s relations with Russia and Iran can be discussed with G7 members.
India raised issues on climate change and at meetings which signaled India’s growing willingness to lead on issues that are points of contention for countries like China and the USA.
In 2020, US President Donald Trump talked about the expansion of the G-7 into the group to include countries like India, South Korea, and Australia.
Its 45th G-7 Summit in August 2019 was held in France’s Biarritz, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a special guest.
Earlier Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has attended G-7 meetings 5 times.
The economic rise of countries such as India, China, and Brazil over a few decades has reduced the relevance of G-7 globally and the G-7 group's share in global GDP is steadily decreasing. In such a situation, the existence of the group is threatened. In this situation, India has become extremely important for G7 nations.
G-7 must focus on the key international issues like terrorism, climate change, trade and internal conflicts between the countries.
As a platform it must reflect the solutions for the pressing issues and global concerns like elimination of poverty and diseases.
It should support the economies at the global level and help to establish the equal levels for each country.
Associated Challenges With G-7 & India
Clash of Interests: The growing convergence of interests between India and the West does not mean the two sides will agree on everything. After all, there are many areas of continuing divergence within the West — from the economic role of the state to the democratic regulation of social media and the technology giants.
Internal Tussle Within G-7: An evaluation of the G-7’s effectiveness as a multilateral forum thus far is needed, given deep member differences on issues including climate change, security contributions, Iran, etc.
Emerging New Cold War: Despite its border tensions with China, India must also consider its objectives in attending a grouping that appears aimed at fuelling a new Cold War between the U.S. and China.
Associated Challenges With G-7 & India
Between India and the European Union, there has been a tense situation on many issues such as data security, changing the political situation of Jammu and Kashmir. The G-7 group will provide a separate forum for dialogue between India and the European Union.
The three countries of this group are permanent members of the UN Security Council, which provides global political power to this group, which India can get benefited.
If India becomes a member, then India can help get membership of this organization of its traditional partner Russia.
Through this organization, India can promote principles like the democratization of global institutions to the world.
Increased trade relations with these countries will provide employment opportunities to the population of India.
India now can’t escape the conclusion that China is the greatest obstacle to India’s global aspirations. Thus, forming a western pivot which includes strong bilateral strategic cooperation with the US, France, UK, EU as well as the QUAD can help India counter China. India is also eager to emerge as a critical node in future supply chains oriented to the democratic world, including in the area of vaccine production.
Undoubtedly the call for India in G-7 meetings and the demand for inclusion in it is indicative of India's growing power. The establishment of G-7 indicates the world's most advanced economy and today India is one of the fifth largest economies in the world. At the same time, India's selection as a temporary member of the UN Security Council is also an indicator of India's growing power. Therefore, G-7 members will now have to pay attention to the expansion of the group.
While India continues to strengthen its partnerships in Asia and the global south, a more productive partnership with the West helps secure a growing array of India’s national interests and adds a new depth to India’s international relations.
India has become a regular invitee to G7, The Exclusive Club of Rich Nations.