ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Sidelining the United Nations

From the joint Indo-US 'Vision' statement issued during the Clinton visit, it appears that India accepts and even supports US attempts to sideline the United Nations in matters of international security and to arrogate to itself the role of global policeman.

Has there been a major shift in India’s policy on international security and the United Nations? The statement titled ‘India-US Relations: A Vision for the 21st Century’, signed by the US president, Bill Clinton and the Indian prime minister, A B Vajpayee gives that impression. Claiming that in the new century India and the United Nations will be partners in peace, with a common interest in and complementary responsibility for ensuring regional and international security, the statement says: “We will strengthen the international security system, including in the United Nations, and support the United Nations in its peace-keeping efforts”.

Note the phrase “including in the United Nations”. The meaning is clear: the United Nations is only part of the international security system. It is not the sole international security system and not the whole. It is not even clear that it is the main system. For peace-keeping UN has the sole responsibility, but not for international security. There are other institutions for international security. The UN is only one such institution. This of course has been the policy of the US for some time. This is the basis for the new doctrine of the NATO adopted on April 24, 1999 on the occasion of the Alliance’s 50th anniversary. This doctrine was first applied to Kosovo. But when did India adopt this as its policy, sidelining the UN? If we had not adopted such a new policy we would have talked of strengthening the international security system ‘through’ the UN and not ‘including in’.

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