India’s Security Council Challenge

Commentary | October 20, 2010

Writing for, W. Pal Sidhu discusses India’s recent election to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which bore testimony to the country’s positive standing among its UN peers.

Sidhu discusses India’s difficult periods of turmoil and transition leading up to its current economic prominence and status as a world leader.  Following the Cold War, India hit a period of economic downturn and also lost its political ally, the Soviet Union: “In this period of transition, India was weak internationally and had little or no influence beyond its neighborhood, let alone in the powerful UNSC.”

Evaluating India’s status today versus in the past, Sidhu explains its significant progress: “Nineteen years later, the world and India are remarkably different.  Today, India is recognized as one of the economic engines that might alleviate the current global economic crisis.  A successful UNSC tenure will allow India to prove its global leadership credentials and also further its national interests.”

According to Sidhu, India’s success in the UNSC is contingent upon two factors: “First, whether it can restore the council’s legitimacy by supporting resolutions that are effective and implementable.  Second, India will have to prove that it can play with the big boys – the five permanent members of the UNSC.” In other words, India will have to demonstrate why its membership in the UNSC should be permanent.

For Sidhu, the real challenge may not turn out to be India’s election into the UNSC, but whether or not it can stay there.

Click here to read Sidhu's piece on