UNSC membership — wrong emphasis at I-A summit

Delhi, predictably (in that that’s how much MEA/GOI is not clued into trends into mainstream African thinking), is fluffing it even as the grand show Modi is hosting for African countries gets underway. Modi and, only hours before the inaugural session, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s emphasis on getting the African bloc to strongly back India’s candidature for a UN Security Council permanent seat by coupling it with the placement of an African nation in the same forum, couldn’t be wronger.

African states, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, are in the gimme mode and are looking for Indian investment in industrial and, its power areas — education and software sectors, and offering their natural resources as inducement and incentive, also as a means of setting up India as a counterweight to China in the extractive industrial sphere. Most of these states don’t give a fig about the UN — nothing but a useless talkshop. They’ll be disinclined and distinctively chary about getting in on this Indian campaign full bore because it will only exacerbate the differences and the divisiveness inherent in choosing between South Africa, Nigeria, and Egypt to represent the continent in the UNSC. They’d rather not get into it, if they can help it. So, for New Delhi to push for a consensus backing for India and an Africa seat makes little sense because even if there’s wide support for India among the African nations, there’s no agreement whatsoever about the African candidate. Here the competition divides up between the states constituting the Muslem North, and the black states south of the Sahara, and then between whom to back — Pretoria or Lagos?

It would have been more sensible for Modi govt to not have made much of this issue, concentrating instead on the mining concessions India can utilize and the related infrastructure projects it can finance, and particularly stress security linkages with offers of military training, exports of Indian made armaments, and establishing the Indian military presence in embryo on the East African littoral.

Then again, there’s no point in expecting anything strategically farsighted from the MEA-directed Indian foreign policy.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
This entry was posted in Africa, arms exports, Asian geopolitics, China, Culture, Defence Industry, India's strategic thinking and policy, Indian ecobomic situation, Indian Navy, Indian Ocean, UN, Weapons. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to UNSC membership — wrong emphasis at I-A summit

  1. santhosh says:

    UNSC membership and craving for that is a total waste of time…what we need is dynamic economy that is big enough to have influence on the world and foreign policy, nuclear weapons and doctrine to make our deterrent credible enough so that our rivals take us seriously , and conventional and modernised military to defend ourselves from 2 nations china and pakistan …i care damn for usa and russia …

  2. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    This is not just about what the African states think of their own positions w.r.t. other African states. African countries are also witness to what is not being said about India by the MSM. And to a major extent this shows how vacuous the thought process has become that despite a lot of achievements and failures, the only big project that the MEA/GOI takes to the African states is a stupid UNSC seat sharing arrangement.

    MEA and its minions in the MSM shouted their winnings like crazy (though not unjustifiably) e.g. the evacuation organized by VKS and IN of mostly stranded muslims and prior to that the saving of christian nursing staff. But they tried to hide the 40 odd Indians (mostly hindus) who went missing when ISIS was on the ascendant. African countries could not have not noticed how just one man named Massih or something from among those 40 odd hindus was turned by the Indian Main Stream Media into a martyr just to hide the identity of the others in that group. African states see this later failing too besides the obvious achievements that are advertised. And obviously one of the possible conclusions that remains inescapable is that the overall MEA policy is merely a tentative WIP at the mercy of the western capitals. It shows that India has allowed itself to become a mere junior partner / water carrier, in The Great Game and the so called GWOT.

    An MEA successful in bringing back those 40 odd Indians and laying the ground work for say a Killing of the Dawood gang inside Pakistan, is going to gather much more respect from the African states than an MEA that cannot think beyond this silly game of musical chairs. Makes the Indian Foreign Policy looks like a haggling between Nitish Kumar and Laloo.

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