It’s come full circle, once again, with the US voting alongwith Russia and China to put off UN Security Council reform. India, more than any other nation, is the nation most affected by the development though, despite being a nationalist citizen, I do not write this with any sense of hope or despair. In fact, there are far too and far too many more substantial things this country of 1.25 billion needs to take care of, existential and long term.
But it’s important, more for the world or rather for the rest of what remains after we’ve crossed out the entrenched interests currently represented in the UN Security Council : US, EU, Russia and China. None of these are in the least concerned with how the interests they each respectively champion affect the rest of humanity left wide open to hunger, disease, respective economic and political challenges, religious wars, massively funded geo-political machinations, natural disasters, and local conflicts.
India is a big square peg to the nice rounded holes shaped to protect and further the historically determined positions of power entrenched US, MNC backing EU eyeing for continued colonial push by other means, Russian hunger for cold war parity and prestige despite loss of its ideological shenanigans, and China’s hegemonical thrust hither and thither about its neo-colonial predatory ambitions perfected in east Turkmenistan, Tibet, southern Mongolia and South China Sea.
How do these superpower fixations concern the rest of the world battling with legacy problems and modern world aspirations of the people ? They do not; not all the packaged information narratives driven by the first and second worlds contribute to the immediate and long term concerns of common citizens of the third world. Which is what India represents : hopes and aspirations of people who are subject to the interests of influential king and satraps enconsed on the high table in UN Security Council.
This volte face by US, Russia and ambiguously positioned China could be now understood in its current context : bringing India on-board would be terribly, uncontrollably disruptive to the status quo. The same powers were hard put countering its non-alignment non-ideology during the cold war decades, and the influence it had in keeping the rest of the world non-polarised is not forgotten !
In geo-political terms, India is a country that is hard to tame or deal with. With its power for peace and culture, pluralism and technological success, population and way of life, and empathy for every other nation and man in the street or farm, India has a ready goodwill which not anchored to mere financial, technological or military muscle. How does one counter an influence that is rooted in similarity, empathy, transparent sincerity, and visible readiness to help ? It is one country that shows up the others for what they are, that will not be neutralised because its declared national interest is tethered to the well-being of every other nation and people.
One other priority in which Russia and China are equal partners, but not for same reasons, could have also weighed heavily to start with : BRICS and SCO. India was one of four first-movers in setting up BRIC that later expanded to include South Africa. And it has accepted SCO invitation to full membership this year. It is likely that Russia and China calculate a dilution of India’s committment to BRICS and SCO goals, as instruments to usher in a new world order, after India is admitted to UNSC and begins to champion positions at the high table from within the existing order. It would then be not averse to working along with the first world nations of the West, than against it.
The US vote against UN reform only underscores the fact that it loathes the presence of an independent, unpredictable voice in the Council that happens to be of an unquestionably democratic regime representing one- sixth of humanity. The realisation that India could heed and lead the interests of the rest of the world will always give jitters to those with strictly self-serving national agenda, in what is supposed to be a world body !
India can and almost always will rise above its own. And that makes it a dangerous entity.