The permanent members were originally drawn from the victorious powers after World War II: the Republic of China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1971, the People’s Republic of China was awarded the Republic of China’s seat in the UN by UN General Assembly Resolution 2758. In 1991, the Russian Federation acquired the seat originally held by the Soviet Union, including the Soviet Union’s former representation in the Security Council.
There has been discussion of an increase in the number of permanent members. The countries who have made the strongest demands for permanent seats are Japan, Germany and India. Indeed, Japan and Germany are the UN’s second and third largest funders, respectively, while Germany and India are among some of the largest contributors of troops to UN-mandated peace-keeping missions. India’s claim is quite justified for permanent membership in the expanded UN Security Council as it is the world’s largest democracy, a rapidly growing economic power and a major contributor to the peace-keeping operations. On any objective grounds, India is well qualified for permanent membership.
Moreover, the Third World and other developing countries are underrepresented when it comes to policy and decision-making at the UN Security Council, especially with the absolute and imperative veto power of the permanent members. The inclusion of India is necessary in order to promote the balance of power and interests between western industrial nations and developing nations in the world’s legislative body. This would equip the Security Council to confront the grave challenges that confront the international community in the 21st century.
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