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India's Big Win at the United Nations

November 2010
India's Big Win at the United Nations This year marks the 65th anniversary of the United Nations, which was established at the end of World War II. Its membership of sovereign states has risen to 192 (from an initial 51), but the composition of the permanent security council—U.S., Russia, U.K., China, France—remains unchanged. And India’s quest to be included in this elite inner circle remains elusive. Indians have played an active role at the United Nations right from the start, and Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit was the first woman president of the U.N. General Assembly. India maintains a Charles Correa-designed permanent mission in Manhattan.

As a second-best option, there are also 10 nonpermanent seats in the national security council that can be held for a two-year period on a rotational basis. Last month, in a new election, India was the only Asian nation to become one of the nonpermanent members. India won 187 out of 190 votes, giving it a resounding victory. No other country garnered more support in the last five years. This will be India’s seventh stint in the security council; the most recent one was in 1991 and ’92. The recent election also means that now both BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) and IBSA (India, Brazil, South Africa) will belong to the security council as nonpermanent members for the next two years.

Of the two votes that weren’t included, one nation abstained and the other vote was disqualified. Here, then, is the big question: Which three countries didn’t vote for India? The answer is not known, for good or bad, because it was a secret ballot.

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