by Smita Sharma
As External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addressed the UN General Assembly last week for the third consecutive year, India’s disappointment at the slow pace of the Security Council reforms could be sensed.
“On September 18, there was a meeting here on UN reform. I participated. I witnessed an evident desire for change, to do something. But I do want to remind you that at the 2005 World Summit, there was a consensus that the early reform of the Security Council is an essential element of our overall effort to reform the UN,” said Swaraj.
It has now come to light that an upset India was unwilling to co-sponsor the political declaration of the UN Reform Meet called on September 18 in New York.
A diplomatic note dated August 30 issued by the US mission to the UN that The Tribune accessed read: “The United States mission to the UN presents its compliments to permanent missions to the UN and has the honour to invite, in collaboration with the permanent missions of Canada, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Slovakia, Thailand, the United Kingdom and Uruguay, each mission to join the UN Reform Political Declaration supporting the Secretary-General’s reform efforts.”
The note added: “Heads of delegation of the member states who join the UN Reform Political Declaration will be invited to attend a UN Reform Event on the morning of Monday, September 18.”
Indian official sources say the US wanted the meeting to focus on UN and not Security Council reforms, to which India objected. India had issues with the agenda for the meet not being circulated for consultation. New Delhi thereby intimated that it would participate in the meeting but not be a co-sponsor to the declaration.
A subsequent revised diplomatic note (EXEC 2017-40) was then issued by the US mission to UN dated September 12, with all previous countries mentioned in the first note as co-sponsors, barring India and China.
In fact the 10-point political declaration spoke of strengthening the Secretary-General’s office, cooperation between member states, but had no mention of expediting the Security Council reforms.
President Donald Trump has talked of restricting US aid to the UN and the need for the global body to be reformed and streamlined. But for countries like India, aspiring for a seat on the high table, any reforms will be meaningless without an expansion of the Security Council to reflect the changed global realities.
Swaraj underlined the same in her UNGA speech. “Efforts at text-based negotiations on the reform and expansion of the Security Council were initiated in the last session and over 160 nations expressed support for this effort. If we are serious, then the least we can do is produce one text that can be the basis for negotiation. I hope that under your enlightened leadership, Mr President, this will become a priority,” she had said.
UN, Not UNSC, Reform On Agenda
A diplomatic note issued by the US mission to UN on August 30 included Indian mission as co-sponsor for the UN Reform Political Declaration supporting Secretary-General’s reform efforts
The invite was for a UN Reform Event on September 18 to focus on UN and not Security Council reforms, to which India objected 
India said it would participate in the meet but not be a co-sponsor to the declaration, prompting the US mission to issue another note dropping India and China from it as co-sponsors