The past few days have seen some of the most public developments regarding UN Security Council reform that the world has seen in years. This diplomatic positioning began at the end of President Obama’s short visit to India when he announced the United States’ support for the world’s largest democracy to join the UNSC as a permanent member. Various foreign ministers have since chimed in on the topic, but none in a similar degree of open support.
Germany and Japan, as similar contenders for permanent UNSC seats, have voiced their concerns that their positions are being overlooked in favor of India. Both countries, however, arguably face more opposition to permanent membership from other countries than India does. Many, in particular Italy, argue that adding Germany would add a third European country at a time when Europe’s power is declining in the world. Additionally, Japan, while receiving past support from the US, is opposed by most neighboring countries such as China and South Korea for permanent membership on the UNSC.
On the other hand, India has received more broadly based public support. China, while not committing outright to India’s candidacy, announced its support of India’s enhanced role in the UNSC and its desire to play a larger role in the world. The votes by the UN General Assembly are also rather telling as India received 187 votes, quite a large amount, for its current non-permanent spot on the Security Council. These signals are encouraging India to hope for change by 2012, however, public support for membership is still a far cry away from actual reform of the UN Security Council and the related issue of the veto power has not yet been brought into public debate.
This post was written by Quinn Connors, a senior at Tufts University majoring in International Relations.