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PSIR 2B-6 India and the UN System – Previous Year Questions – Solved

Model Answers to PYQs (2018-2023)

1] Discuss the importance of India’s role in UN peacekeeping operations as a ground for its claim to a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. [2023/15m/200w/6b]

India has a long and consistent history of participating in UN peacekeeping missions. It has been involved in peacekeeping efforts since the 1950s and has contributed significantly to various missions across the globe.

India is one of the largest contributors of troops and police personnel to UN peacekeeping missions. This highlights India’s readiness to shoulder the responsibility of maintaining peace and security in various conflict zones. Its contributions have included not only troops but also civilian personnel and experts, reflecting its multifaceted approach to peacekeeping.

Moreover, India’s involvement in diverse peacekeeping missions has equipped it with a wealth of experience and expertise in conflict resolution, peacebuilding, and post-conflict reconstruction. Indian peacekeepers have often played crucial roles in mediating conflicts, providing humanitarian assistance, and ensuring the stability of war-torn regions.

Importantly, India’s involvement in UN peacekeeping operations reflects its commitment to multilateralism and the rules-based international order. This is in line with the principles of the United Nations and underscores India’s potential role as a responsible stakeholder in the UNSC.

While India’s contributions to UN peacekeeping operations are undeniably significant, they are just one aspect as India’s claim is supported by not only its peacekeeping role but also its status as the world’s largest democracy, its growing economic and military power, and its active diplomatic engagement on global issues. [218 words]

2] Explain the factors which justify India’s claim for a permanent seat at the UN security council. [2022/15m/200w/7c]

India’s claim for a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is based on several factors that justify its aspiration for a more prominent role in global governance.

India is the world’s second-most populous country, representing about 18% of the global population. With such a significant demographic weight, India argues that it deserves permanent representation to reflect the realities of the global population distribution.

Geographically, India is a large and influential nation in South Asia, serving as a bridge between different regions and playing a vital role in regional stability and security.

India’s economic strength and potential provide it with the resources and capacity to actively participate in addressing global challenges and contribute to the United Nations’ goals.

The country has consistently been one of the largest contributors to UN peacekeeping missions. Indian peacekeepers have served in various conflict zones around the world, demonstrating India’s commitment to international peace and security. India’s active involvement in peacekeeping operations highlights its capability and willingness to contribute to the maintenance of global peace.

India is also the world’s largest democracy, with a robust and diverse democratic system. India upholds the principles of pluralism, secularism, and the rule of law. Its democratic credentials, respect for human rights, and commitment to democratic values make it a suitable candidate for a permanent seat, as the UN is an organization founded on the principles of democracy and inclusivity. Moreover, its constructive participation in international discussions and negotiations showcases its willingness to collaborate and contribute to finding solutions to global challenges.

Thus, India’s claim for a permanent seat at the UNSC is supported by a multitude of factors as discussed above. [275 words]

3] Discuss the “Sustainable Development Goals’ as set by the United Nations. [2021/15m/200w/8b]

SDGs are a set of 17 goals and 169 targets aimed at resolving the social, economic and environmental problems troubling the world. Covering the next 15 years, the SDGs replaced the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which expired in 2015.

The 17 goals aim to achieve the following wider aims by 2030:

i. end poverty and hunger everywhere

ii. combat inequalities within and between countries

iii. build peaceful, just and inclusive societies

iv. protect human rights and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls

v. ensure lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources

vi. create conditions for sustainable, inclusive and sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and decent work for all.

The United Nations says the SDGs go much further than the previous goals because they address the root causes of poverty and pledge to leave no one behind, including vulnerable groups. They also emphasise the need to tackle climate change urgently and protect the environment through a shift to sustainable consumption and production.

The SDGs are intended to be universal, applying to all countries rather than just the developing world. They recognise the key role of the private sector in pursuing and financing sustainable development, in partnership with governments and civil society.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) define the world we want. They apply to all nations and mean, quite simply, to ensure that no one is left behind. [233 words]

4] Explain the importance of India’s claim for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. [2020/15m/200w/7b]

Former Secretary General Kofi Annan has been quoted as saying that India has been one of the most significant votaries of shaping the UN agenda on behalf of the developing world.

At the outset itself, demography remains the primary reason why India should be in the Council. India, with a population of 1.25 billion now, is the second most populous country in the world comprising almost one-fifth of humanity. This basic fact itself warrants Indian inclusion and representation in the Security Council.

India’s rising economic stature globally has added to Indian claims as well. India is now the fastest-growing major economy in the world, and Asia’s third largest. India’s leading position in software and its IT-enabled services making it a global technology giant adds to its increasing economic and trade footprint across the world.

India is now counted amongst the most influential players in economic organisations like the WTO, BRICS and the G20. India’s newly acquired status as a Nuclear Weapons State (NWS) in May 1998 also makes it a natural claimant.

India also has a strong case of regular, significant contributions to the UN. In the arena of peacekeeping, India has remained the largest cumulative contributor of UN peacekeeping troops with around 180,000 troops since the 1950s.

Moreover, Indian strategic interest in the Council seat has also been shaped by its history of interacting with the Security Council. In the early years of its independence during its armed conflict with Pakistan in Kashmir, India paid the price for being “idealistic”. It would also serve as an equalizer to China. India is the democratic alternative to the authoritarian China.

Lastly, India has always seen itself as a champion, a ‘moralistic force’ of the third-world, the developing states.

The failure to enlarge the UNSC is problematic, for it excludes from permanent membership powerful countries that possess the capacity to contribute to international and peace security. Indian policy-makers have been rightly arguing that the major international institutions should adapt to the realities of the present century. [334 words]

5] Analyse the recent trends in India’s role in the UN peacekeeping operations. [2019/15m/200w/6c]

The end of the Cold War resulted in a mushrooming of crises. More than 20 new UN Peacekeeping operations were deployed between 1989-1994 alone, and India’s contributions to these new operations also rose significantly.

In Iran and Iraq in 1988/90 after the bloody conflict in the region; on the Iraqi-Kuwait border after the Gulf War in 1991; Angola in 1989/91, and again in 1995/99, and several other places of conflict, India has provided police personnel to a number of United Nations missions. Further, India’s contributions to UN peacekeeping operations (UNPKOs) have been underscored by the experience and professionalism of India’s armed forces.

Three broad areas have emerged where India’s contributions have made a difference.

The first area is in making use of UN peacekeeping across the world to ensure a political transition to peace. Such UNPKOs include UNPROFOR in the former Yugoslavia.

The second area is in augmenting peacebuilding activities by encouraging and mentoring the strengthening of national governance institutions. UNTAG saw Indian peacekeepers assist in the creation of the institutions of an independent Namibia. India became the first country to demonstrate the effectiveness of women as UN peacekeepers in peacebuilding with the deployment of the first all-female formed police unit (FFPU) to the UNPKO in Liberia (UNMIL) in 2007.

The third area is in leading the ground-level response to new challenges, while the UN Security Council remains ineffective in implementing its decisions.

The Indian Army established a Centre for UN Peacekeeping (CUNPK) in year 2000, to impart niche training in peacekeeping operations. The Centre trains more than 12,000 troops every year.

India’s commitment to UN peacekeeping remains unwavering in continued geopolitics and irrespective of the fact that its contribution remains unrecognized. In the words of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, “It would be an understatement to say that India’s contribution to global peace has been remarkable.” [307 words]

6] Discuss the various impediments in India’s way to a permanent seat in the Security Council. [2018/15m/200w/7c]

The case for India’s permanent seat at the UNSC is as compelling as it is simple. Despite these strong capabilities, India faces various impediments to getting a permanent seat in the UNSC.

Firstly, for this necessary change in the UNSC, the UN Charter needs to be amended. This amendment can only be brought about by a P5 consensus, making the amendment nearly impossible to achieve. Moreover, it also requires the approval of two-thirds of the UN General Assembly but also the ratification of the relevant domestic legislation by two-thirds of UN member-states, including all of the P-5.

Secondly, India’s aim to become a permanent member of the UNSC also suffers from the Sino-Pakistani stance gaining traction in regard to such criteria as ‘a comprehensive solution’ and ‘interests and concerns of all UN member-states’. It is a well-known fact that China tried to disrupt the possibility of India’s permanent entry into the UNSC behind the so-called ‘Coffee Club’.

Thirdly, the dynamics of Russia’s support for India’s UNSC bid are also complex. India’s security concerns are bringing it closer to the USA, which is making Russia uncomfortable. And as India’s relations with China continue to worsen, there is bound to be a reduction of confidence in Russia’s support for India’s UNSC aspirations.

India’s bid for a permanent seat at the UNSC has become entangled with the geopolitics of its strategic engagements. There is greater recognition of the challenge posed by the China-Pakistan nexus, and therefore a greater willingness to align with the US and its allies. India has time and again met all requirements for a permanent seat, and the denial of the same to it seems unjustified. [276 words]

The post contains answers to the last 6-year papers i.e. (2023-2018). Answers to the previous year questions from 2013-2017 are a part of our book PSIR Optional Model Answers to PYQs (2013-2022)

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