India ready to forgo veto power for permanent membership to UNSC

India,  along with other members of G4, have offered to initially forgo veto powers in exchange for a coveted permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Syed Akbaruddin, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN
Syed Akbaruddin, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN. Photo courtesy:

While speaking on behalf of G4 at the Inter-Governmental Negotiations, Syed Akbaruddin, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, said, “The issue of veto is important, but we should not allow it to have a veto over the process of council reform itself.”

While the new permanent members would in principle have veto powers that the current five have, Akbaruddin said, "They shall not exercise the veto until a decision on the matter has been taken during a review."

There are five permanent members on the Security Council comprising US, UK, China, France and Russia. Ten non-permanent members are elected for two-year terms. India's bid for permanent membership, to reflect its importance as a major South Asian power, has been blocked by China and Pakistan.

G4, consisting of India, Brazil, Germany and Japan, is lobbying for council reform and the countries mutually support each other’s candidature for permanent seats on an expanded body.

The G4 group rejected suggestions to create a category of longer-term elected members of the council as a ploy to block adding new permanent members.

Akbaruddin further said, “Expanding only the non-permanent categories would only worsen the imbalance of influence in the council and tilt the scales in favour of an outdated set-up.”

United Nations Security Council
India's bid for permanent membership has been blocked by China and Pakistan. Photo courtesy:

He was responding to Italy's Permanent Representative Sebastiano Cardi, who opposed expanding the permanent membership and instead suggested creating a new category of elected membership with longer terms than the current two years.

Cardi made the proposal on behalf of Uniting for Consensus, a 13-member group that includes Pakistan. The group has been waging a decades-long battle against expanding permanent membership and blocking the reform process.

The G4 also pointed out that the number and allocation of non-permanent seats have outlived their relevance since the UN was formed and the 1965 reform in 1965 when the number of non-permanent members was increased from six to 10.