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India's attempt to regain a seat at the United Nations Security Council among the 10 non-permanent members has hit multiple roadblocks. As reported in this newspaper on Sunday, candidatures for the UNSC non-permanent seats have been announced till 2038, and India finds itself against one contender or another for the two seats allotted to the Asia-Pacific group. Its last term at the UNSC ended on December 31, 2012 — a term secured after a gap of almost two decades. Its plans for the 2019 elections, targeting the 2020-21 term, have run into trouble as Vietnam — the Asian contender for the one Asia-Pacific seat vacated each year — has declined New Delhi's request to stand down, and instead offered to support India's permanent membership and to sign the G-4 draft on UNSC expansion. Over the following years, India would have to contend with Afghanistan, the UAE and Mongolia, while Pakistan, currently holding one of the Asia-Pacific slots, has already announced its candidature for the 2023 elections.
India's UNSC predicament demonstrates Delhi's lack of foresight and planning. While it cannot be gainsaid that a two-year term at the UNSC sometimes forces a state to take a stand on certain issues it might otherwise dodge, it is equally true that the Security Council confers a status that the UN General Assembly does not. It allows a state the diplomatic chance to project power, help others and gather IoUs. Why else would India be a part of the G-4 grouping and lobby for a permanent seat that, in any case, would only be an acknowledgement of the changed global geopolitics? To look credible as a major power, it is necessary to sit at the right forums and also participate in their decision-making.