• The G-4 is a grouping of Brazil, Germany, India and Japan which are aspiring to become permanent members of the UNSC.
  • The G4 countries are supporting each other’s bids for permanent membership of the UNSC.
  • The G-4 nations traditionally meet on the sidelines of the annual high-level UN General Assembly session.
  • Unlike the G7, where the common denominator is the economy and long-term political motives, the G4’s primary aim is the permanent member seats on the Security Council. Each of these four countries have figured among the elected non-permanent members of the council since the UN’s establishment.
  • Their economic and political influence has grown significantly in the last decades, reaching a scope comparable to the permanent members (P5).
  • However, the G4’s bids are often opposed by the Uniting for Consensus movement, and particularly their economic competitors or political rivals.
    • Uniting for Consensus(UfC), nicknamed the Coffee Club, is a movement that developed in the 1990s in opposition to the possible expansion of permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council.
    • Under the leadership of Italy, it aims to counter the bids for permanent seats proposed by G4 nations (Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan) and is calling for a consensus before any decision is reached on the form and size of the Security Council.

Why is there a Need for UNSC Reforms?

  • UN represents a larger world and the irony is that it has only 5 permanent members in its important body.
  • The current composition of the Security Council represents the post-World War II realities and thus is not in pace with the changing balance of power in the world.
  • At the time of the formation of the UNSC, big powers were given privileges to make them part of the council. This was necessary for its proper functioning as well as to avoid failure like that of the organization ‘League of Nations.
  • The regions like far East Asia, South America, and Africa have no representation in the permanent membership of the council.
Group of Four (G-4) Countries

Why is India Demanding the Permanent Membership of the UNSC?

  • For the first 40 years of the UN Security Council’s formation, India never asked for permanent membership.
  • Even in 1993 when India submitted its written proposal to the UN in response to the General Assembly resolution related to reforms, it did not specifically state that it wants permanent membership for itself.
  • It is only from the last few years that India has started asking for permanent membership in the council.
  • India deserves a permanent place in the council considering the size of its economy, population and the fact that it is the largest democracy in the world.
    • India has become a major player not only in Asia but also in the world.
    • The Security Council would be a more representative body if India would be there in it as a permanent member.
  • By having veto power, one can enjoy enormous powers.
    • Since 2009, India was trying to designate Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. One veto power of China kept delaying it.
  • India will be able to work better for its interests.
    • There was a time when the USSR actually started boycotting the UNSC and that was the time when US managed to get the resolution passed for the Korean War. From that time onwards USSR realized that it doesn’t make sense to boycott the UN. It needs to keep veto if at all resolution is against them.
  • India’s presence as a permanent member will be an acknowledgement of its rise as a global power, ready to play a key role in the council’s objectives of international peace and security.
  • India will be able to enjoy the ‘prestige’ associated with the permanent membership of the council.

Way Forward

  • Global power hierarchies are changing and the P5 needs to realize that this is high time to initiate UNSC reforms. The declining powers should either give away their membership or should expand the size of the UNSC, opening the doors for new emerging powers.
  • Other reforms might succeed earlier than the expansion of P5. None of the so-called powerful nations wants to expand the table and share their pie with another nation.
  • India needs to focus on strengthening itself economically, militarily & diplomatically in order to participate in major conversations and groupings. Steadily, the UNSC will itself deem India fit to become a part of the UNSC.
United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
  • The UNSC is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions.
  • It is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.
  • The Security Council consists of fifteen members. Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, and the United States—serve as the body’s five permanent members.
  • These permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General.
  • The Security Council also has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms. The body’s presidency rotates monthly among its members.

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