India’s ambitions vs ground realities
Indian leaders have the desire to be counted as world power and member of the Nuclear Supplier Group, but India’s track record vis-à-vis human rights violations, the treatment meted out to the minorities and showing utter disregard to the UNSC resolutions hobbles its ambitions. India’s attitude and behavior with its neighboring countries has been contrary to the norms of peaceful co-existence. Instead of recognizing their sovereignty and equal status, India wishes a pliant behavior on the part of its neighbors, and demands of them to act according to its dictates. India expects of its smaller neighbors to formulate their external, internal and even defence policies according to its will and wishes. All of India’s neighbours have been wary of its hegemonic designs. Even Bangladesh has had problems with India over river water and fencing of the border but downplayed as Hasina Wajid is at the helm.
Though reforms in the UNSC were deemed necessary since the end of the Cold War, and its expansion was being considered, UNGA resolution of 14th September 2015 was an important step towards the reforms in the UNSC. In April 2015, PM Narendra Modi had lobbied for a permanent seat for India in the UNSC, saying it should get it for its immense contribution towards global peace. But contribution to global peace is not confined to providing troops but in implementing the UN’s resolutions and also living in peace with neighbors. Given its record of violations of UN resolutions, particularly pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan had said that India did not qualify to become a full member of the UNSC. Today, the position is that many countries want a limited expansion of the UNSC from 15 to 20; and US, UK and France favor India’s inclusion in the UNSC.
However, there has to be a consensus on the scope and extent of the expansion including the qualifications of the member state. Apart from Pakistan, many countries are opposed to increase the permanent members with veto power, as the world has witnessed the frequent use of veto in the past that indeed led to virtual paralysis of the Security Council during the Cold War. Even now, major issues remain unresolved on the agenda of the Security Council because the parties are assured by one or the other of the permanent members of using the veto. But veto power negates the very concept of democratic principles and is emblematic of absolutism. Anyhow, on 28th November 2016 a memorandum was submitted to the then United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon from Greater Nepal Nationalist Fronton “Facts Which Disqualify India for attaining Permanent Membership of UNSC”.
The memorandum summed up the hegemonic designs of India and stated: “India imposed blockade against Nepal at a time when the country was reeling under the affects of devastating earthquake. India refused to accept the mandate of the people of Nepal as the constitution was approved by more than 90% vote of the Constituent Assembly. India continues to illegally occupy 60000 square Kilo Meters of Nepalese territory lost by Nepal after the signing of Sugauli treaty of 1816 with East India Company.” It also referred to annexation of Sikkim, terrorizing Maldives and Bhutan, igniting civil war in Sri Lanka, earlier its role in the separation of former East Pakistan, and continues shedding blood of innocent Kashmiris.” Ask the Sri Lankans, and they would tell you how devastatingly they had been bitten by the Indian establishment, who had recruited Sri Lankan Tamil youth in multitudes.
According to them, Tamils were trained by Indian army in its training centres, who armed and bankrolled them, and unleashed them on the neighboring island state to discipline and subjugate it. Although the Indian Frankenstein later fell out with their Tamil Tiger monsters after they assassinated Indian prime minister Rajiv Ghandi at a rally by their female suicide bomber, yet the India connection with Sri Lankan Tamil militancy did not snap. Anyhow, Sri Lankan government of Rajpakse was successful in decimating the Tamil Tigers despite the propaganda by India, the US and the West for violations of human rights and advising Sri Lankan government to negotiate with the insurgents and rebels. India has also the habit of testing the patience of its strong neighbors by flexing muscles, as it did with China in 1962 and faced the consequences.
As regards India’s entry in the NSG, the chances are remote, as at the end of its two-day plenary in Seoul last year, the NSG had declared its firm support for the full, complete and effective implementation of the NPT as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime — a clear indication that no exception will be made in the case of India. The statement by the 48-nation grouping, however, said that it will continue to have discussions on participation of countries, which have not signed the NPT. Though it is nearly impossible to enter the nuclear club in which every member has veto and that too without signing NPT, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited scores of countries to seek their support for becoming the member of the NSG. Earlier, Switzerland had showed willingness to support Indian inclusion in the NSG but later took a U-turn to oppose India’s entry in the group.
China was joined by Austria, Ireland and Brazil among other countries which questioned as to how a country like India which had not signed the NPT can be admitted to the grouping. Essentially their opposition was couched in principles and processes. Brazil’s objections had surprised the Indian diplomats as India was a member of the 5-nation BRICS grouping. China’s stand that India’s membership application cannot be considered because it has not signed the NPT was backed by nearly 10 other countries. And despite backing of the US, the UK, France and a majority of countries in the nuclear trading group, India failed to get the group’s membership. Official statement of the summit had said: “Participating governments reiterated their firm support for the full, complete and effective implementation of the NPT as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime.”