United Nations and security of mankind

J.L.Koul Jalali

Events and developments during last some years have made world fractured and more disunited. This is despite the fact that after end of cold war globalisation in various spheres had brought the nations and nation states somewhat nearer. This disunity has in turn accentuated threats to security in some countries and regions, particularly in Indo-Pacific region. In normal course with passage of time ,civilisations have risen and fallen with few surviving exceptions like India and China. But now in the age of climate change and nuclear weapons, mankind,as it has evolved through ages, is faced with myriad challenges which threaten even its existence. The immediate threat world has been facing for over a year is that of pandemic Covid-19 and is now engaged in the gigantic task and the urgency to make vaccine, to tackle the pandemic, available all over the world free or at nominal or affordable prices.United Nations was supposed to play an important role in this task of international dimensions.But there has been hardly any joint effort or effective response by it to fight the pandemic that has bedevilled whole world.
World has been already facing some abhorant challenges for decades now which include pernicious effects of climate change, accidental or intended holocausts that could be caused by enormous stockpiles of deadly nuclear weapons,terrorism and geopolitical struggles now mostly in the context of terrorism or aggressive, wrongful and arbitrary assertion of its power by China. Regarding climate change, it is a happy augury that the new Democratic party government in the United States has decided to undo the action of the previous Republican government and return to Paris Agreement about climate change. But nuclear weapons in the absence of any world wide disarmament agreement now pose far more devastating threat to mankind. This is despite the fact that the new government in USA has decided to extend the only remaining nuclear disarmament pact between USA and Russia “New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty”. It was to expire this month.
Regarding danger posed by terrorism, the new Biden administration in US has announced that it will determine whether Taliban has reduced terror attacks in Afghanistan in keeping with peace deals by it with the previous US administration. Though a welcome move but there is no surety that the peace deals will bring much desired lasting peace in the region. Otherwise also in the absence of any concerted drive and united action against terrorsm,it is hardly likely to be rooted out completely.
Danger posed by China emanates from the manner in which it wants to assert itself aggressively without any regard for international law and rules and regulations and vital interests and sensitivities of other countries. This has already endangered security in Indo Pacific region. China has to keep navigation, maritime routes and overflights open to respect rights of other countries. Its actions in Hong Kong to curtail democratic rights,its unethical alliances ,its Belt and Road policy which engulfs a partner country in debt to make it dependent and hapless ,are only some of the examples of its aggressive assertion. All these actions not only endanger world peace and security but are detrimental to evolution of a world civilisation.
Immediate to India,sudden massive build up of troops by China last year on Line of Actual Control in Ladakh Sector without any credible explanation for change in its stance has strained ties between the two Asian powers. In an attempt to resolve this nine month stand-off on LAC, Foreign Minister of India S.Jaishankar has said that mutual respect,mutual sensitivity and mutual interests are determining factors for bilateral relationship. He also listed eight principles to tackle the standoff in efforts for disengagement and de-escalation. These principles are complete adherence to existing agreements,respect for and strict observance of LAC,essentiality of peace and tranquility in border areas,along with commitment to a multi-polar world by both countries it should be recognised that a multi-polar Asia is one of its essential constituents,reciprocity in sensitivity to each others interests,concerns and priorities, not to ignore aspirations and each other`s pursuits ,management of divergences and differences is essential and civilisational states like India and China must always take long view.
China has to take cognisance of ethical and moral aspect of the matters also to ensure world peace and tranquilty. If it looks back at its own history,it will observe that it gave up its isolation to join those whom it termed as mere “Paper Tigers”. This helped it much. It may not be analogous to the present situation,but it bears some resemblance.
All these and other dangers facing the mankind,again focus attention on the mandate of United Nations to establish and maintain peace in the world after its establishment in 1945 at the end of second World War. UN has helped the world in many ways,but its responses and efforts have not been adequate to prevent wars,terror attacks and bloodshed. Its structure and lack of reforms has been main cause responsible for this. Addressing a virtual high level meeting of the UN General Assembly last September to commemorate seventy fifth anniversary of UN, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi pointed out that the United Nations has been facing crisis of confidence and reiterated India`s call for its reform to reflect present realities. Later in a video address he asked how long will India,the world`s largest democracy with more than eighteen per cent of world population, be kept out of its decision making structure. Citing historical and contemporary reasons for a bigger role for India at the UN he pointed out its growing economic and strategic clout,its responsible role in peace keeping missions,its philosophy of working for the interests of mankind,its history as a non-colonising nation,its green initiatives such as Internatonal Solar Alliance, its actions for security and development in regions like Indo-Pacific and its role in helping other countries during the present Pandemic. Also its partnerships are not directed against someone else and its development programmes are not bound by any malafide intent ,Mr.Modi said. Obviously permanent membership of India of UN Security Council is an important element of reform of the World Body. Consequently during its present two year non-permanent membership f UNSC, reformation of World Body should be first priority for its diplomatic efforts.
As suggested by this writer in his Article on 17.7.2018, after the World Body is completely reformed,there has to be a paradigm shift in giving it a new shape on way to ultimately turning it into a democratic World government. Among other issues,first step should be to turn the “larger Mandate of the reformed world body to prevent wars and security threats” to “Authority to prevent wars and security threats.” But for this nations and nation states as members of the reformed world body would have to share shades of their sovereignty with the new World Body. This is a necessity and may no longer be an utopia given the fact that first ever treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons has come into force. Result of a sustained campaign for decades, the treaty is not supported by all the countries but it is a step forward. A long sustained campaign could also turn the utopia of a World Democratic government into a possibility.
(The author is (IIS Retired) Accredited Freelance Journalist)