When India sits at the horseshoe table
We must not treat our non-permanent membership over the next two years as a probationary period for our aspirations for permanent membership. That would be a huge mistake. We must deal with issues, including what might appear to be difficult ones, by the yardstick of our national interests, and not by how our vote will please or displease some members. This might be easier said than done. We will come under pressure from others. After all, no country follows a truly independent line. But if we justify our vote by the criterion of our interests, others will understand. More importantly, the people of India will understand. The government must take the citizens of our country into confidence and must be more proactive in explaining its decisions to the people.
The Security Council has become more assertive in expanding its jurisdiction in dealing with issues which might not fall within the rubric of ‘security'; it has tended to interpret its mandate more broadly. It is only a matter of time before it decides to discuss environment and other such issues. It is in India's interest to be associated with a body which might draft new rules of international behaviour. While it would be wonderful to have the right of veto, it is simply not going to happen. Permanent membership without veto, if and when it happens, will be of immense importance for us. If that were not the case, why would some countries so vehemently oppose it?