September 19, 2020

When India defeated China on the United Nations – evaluation



As a member of the UN Safety Council in 2011-2012, India beat China. Right here is how.

UN member-states are divided into 5 geographical teams, and each effort is made to keep away from contests in elections to numerous UN our bodies by guaranteeing clear slates, i.e. the variety of candidates and seats allotted to the group match. Contested elections, subsequently, are usually excessive status diplomatic battles. China, no less than pre-Covid-19, was a heavyweight participant, with its support bounties unfold throughout the creating world and the heft of its veto-bearing everlasting membership of the SC.

The Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) is the UN’s unbiased oversight and analysis association. It’s based mostly in Geneva with 11 members (referred to as inspectors) serving of their private capability. The custom is for an inspector to serve two five-year phrases at a stretch. The inspectors are elected (technically “appointed”) by the UN Basic Meeting (UNGA) and never chosen by the Secretary-Basic.

Until 2011, India had an inspector solely as soon as on the JIU from 1968-1977. After casual conversations inside the Asian group, India put up its Everlasting Consultant in Geneva, who was retiring quickly, as a candidate for the JIU for the five-year time period (2013-2017).

China was finishing a ten-year stint in 2012 and will have taken a break from the JIU. Nevertheless it additionally introduced a candidate for the one seat on the JIU from Asia for a similar time period. This arrange a straight contest between India and China.

In October 2010, India had been elected to the Safety Council (SC) following an enormous marketing campaign, and after securing a document 187 votes from 192 UN member-states. Whereas service on the SC, quite than elections, was our precedence, China had left us little possibility however to contest. We clearly left no stone unturned in New York, with the Everlasting Consultant himself within the lead, as we vigorously pursued our outreach and made offers with all UN member-states.

The election was on November 22, and the method started slightly after 10 am. Since voting within the UN is in individual, I used to be instantly struck by the skinny attendance as I entered the UN Basic Meeting corridor. My rapid intuition was to ask all my colleagues within the Everlasting Mission to get on to their cellphones and gently however persuasively push delegates, particularly from favourably disposed international locations, to hurry to the UNGA. Anticipating such a scenario, we had ready an intensive listing of cellular numbers of election officers in different Everlasting Missions.

The following shock was a younger diplomat from a neighbouring nation, usually considered pleasant to us, being cautious of giving a thumbs-up response. With out realising that it might be late within the evening in his capital, I dialled our ambassador there and obtained affirmation that the nation was going the opposite manner. Nevertheless it needed to be chin-up and confidence because the poll papers have been circulated, collected, after which counted.

Lastly, simply after midday, the end result was introduced: India had obtained 106 out of 183 votes solid. China 77. What a victory!

Nothing may have happy us greater than conveying the end result to New Delhi. This was, maybe, the one time that India and China had confronted off on the UN in an election and we had prevailed and that too decisively. By the way, the Chinese language candidate was their ambassador in New Delhi.

(That is the second in a sequence of month-to-month articles on India at the us and tales of excessive diplomacy, as India returns to the Council in 2021)

Manjeev S Puri is former ambassador and India’s Deputy Everlasting Consultant to the UN

The views expressed are private