Our UN-Fixation

Indian elite have been ecstatic about Barack Obama???s support for India as a permanent member of an expanded UN Security Council. It is indeed a significant endorsement of India???s growing economic power and global aspirations. But what does it mean in real terms, beyond the rhetoric of a leader trying to please his audience by saying what they most wanted to hear? As the WikiLeaks documents underline, the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, after all sought intelligence from the US diplomats at the UN on the deliberations regarding Security Council expansion among the ???self-appointed frontrunners??? for permanent membership including India. Advertisement opens in new windowThe euphoria in India today is symptomatic of the obsession of the Indian political elites with the United Nations (UN). Even as the UN???s failures have become self-evident over the years, India has continued to view it as an almost indispensable actor in global politics that needs substantial Indian diplomatic investment. While this fascination with a moribund institution may not have had any cost in the past when India was on the periphery of global politics, a rising India of today cannot afford to cling on to that same old worldview. Yet India continues to expend its precious diplomatic capital on pursuing the permanent membership of the Security Council and more astonishingly deciding to contest the elections for the post of the UN Secretary General. India???s experience with the UN has historically been underwhelming, to put it mildly. Indian national interests have suffered whenever the nation has looked to the UN for support. As the Nehruvian idealism has gradually been replaced by a more confident assertion of Indian national interests, it is time for India to make a more forceful dissociation from the perfunctory modalities of the UN.Advertisement opens in new windowToo much of a UN-fixation is not good for the health of any nation, much less for a rising power like I



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