India and the United Nations
The main objective of the United Nations Organization is to maintain international peace and security and India has always played an active role on this regard. Her role for maintaining international peace and security is known to all.
According to the U.N. Charter there are two classes of membership in U.N.O. the original members and the elected members. The Charter has categorically stated in its Article. 3 that “The original members of the United Nations shall be the states which having participated in the United Nations Conference of International Organization at San Francisco, or having previously signed the declaration by United Nations of January 1942, sign the present Charter and ratify it in accordance with Art. 110.” Thus the states which had joined the San Francisco conference of 1945 or had signed the earlier declaration of the United Nations of 1942 became the original members of the U.N.O. In spite of this categorical declaration under Art. 3 of the Charter there was a debate as to whether India, Philippines and a few Soviet Republics would be considered as the original members of the UNO.
In fact when the U.N.O. was born India was under the British rule and had no separate political identity as a state. Yet India was given the original membership under this understanding that she would soon get the autonomous right and the states of dominion republic and it was also recommended that the autonomous states and the dominion republics would become the original members of the U.N.O. However on 15th August, 1947 India won independence and obtained the status of a free and independent state.
As an original member of the U.N.O India has always played a constructive and positive role and always tried to upkeep the main principles, ideology of and objectives of the U.N. Charter. India has always shown her interest and eagerness to materialize the ideals postulated in the Charter. In 1960 the U.N.O. made a historical declaration to give independence to all the countries under colonial rule, India was the main supporter of that proposal and eventual declaration.
Apart from this anti-imperialistic role India also stood firmly against the evils of apartheid policy. In order to preach against this apartheid policy India has chosen the U.N.O. as per platform and relentlessly expressed her views. The practice of apartheid policy in South Africa was always criticized by India and in the first meeting of the General Assembly in 1946, India severely criticized South Africa for following such a policy and eventually raised a motion thereof. India categorically declared that the practice of apartheid policy is against the very spirit of the U.N. Charter. Eventually the U.N.O. had taken a number of decisions against the apartheid policy of South Africa and India had always supported those decisions. In her ceaseless fight against the imperialism and apartheid policy India was always backed by the Afro-Asian countries . Moreover all these Afro-Asian countries were against any power blocks and wanted to remain isolated and follow the policy of non-alignment. India always supported their stand and herself always remained an active participant in the non-aligned movement. It was due to her strong protest that the .South Africa had to quit from the commonwealth of the Nations. She had made the people of the world aware of the evils of apartheid policy and had created such a public opinion against this that the South African minority white men’s government was compelled to release Mr. Nelson Mandela, the unquestioned leader of the National Congress of South Africa and to establish a popular government in that country through a general election.
Using the U.N.O. as her platform India has appealed time and again for disarmament, for ending all sorts of nuclear tests and destroying the nuclear weapons. She had actively taken part in all the missions that the U.N. had sent for the purpose in all parts of the world. She remained an important member of the Peace Mission of the U.N. She has always remained an active actor in maintaining peace and security in South-East Asia. After the Korean War the commission that was formed to settle the controversial issue of the transfer of the prisoners of war, India became the Chairman of the Commission and settled the matter nicely. In the Indo-Chinese affair India stood firmly by the side of the fighting Vietnamese against the imperialism. In the Geneva Conference of 1959 for establishing peace in Indo-China India not only played a vital role but also became the Chairman of the International Control Commission established for the purpose.
After the Second World War many a colonies were emancipated and the colonial powers came to an end. The political atlas of the world changed enormously and naturally the number of members of the U.N. also increased. To accommodate these newly emancipated Afro-Asian third world countries it was found necessary to modify certain provisions of the U.N. Charter and India played a significant role in this regard. By a majority vote in the eighteenth conference of the General Assembly in 1963 the number of members of U.N.O. was increased from eleven to fifteen. The number of representatives of the Afro-Asian and Latin American countries in the Security Council was also increased.
Though the main objective of U.N.O. is to maintain international peace and security and hence the U.N.O. is always actively trying to bring economic development and prosperity of all the countries of the world and their people. In this regard the UN has always received ungrudging help from India. The UN has established the organization for economic co-operation and Development (OECD) for rendering economic assistance of different countries for their all-round development. India is not a member of that organization yet she has donated the maximum amount of money in this development fund.
The UN too always stands by the side of India, and played a positive role in the overall development of the people of this land. The UN has rendered much assistance for India’s overall development in every sphere – economic, cultural, educational health and even to make her five year plans a success. Dr. Rumki Basu aptly said—“The United Nations System in India, comprising the country offices of 18 agencies dedicates itself, in the second half century of the United Nations and of independent India to rising to the challenge delineated for it by the Secretary General and to work together as a family at the country level in areas of common human development concern so as to be able to build capacity and add tangible value to national initiatives.” She is indeed right in her observation.