India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) hands over the gavel to Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (R) and the end of the G20 summit
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) hands over the gavel to Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (R) and the end of the G20 summit AFP


  • India and Brazil issued a statement reaffirming their commitment to United Nations Security Council reforms
  • UNSC has had the same five permanent members -- China, France, Russia, UK and US -- since 1945
  • The permanent five have veto power that allows them to block any Security Council resolutions

Before the G20 summit drew to a close, India and Brazil renewed their pitch for reforms in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to make changes to its permanent and non-permanent membership. However, experts doubt China will be too eager to allow New Delhi to have an equal footing in the UNSC.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva issued a joint statement Sunday reaffirming their commitment to Security Council Reforms, and agreed to hold "regular bilateral coordination meetings" for the same.

India, which has actively been positioning itself as a mouthpiece for the global south, has long been a frontrunner in the demand for UNSC reforms. Although the number of members has quadrupled, the Security Council still retains the same five permanent members (P5) -- China, France, Russia (following the dissolution of the Soviet Union), the United Kingdom, and the United States -- who have the power to veto any resolutions.

Despite the world's center of economic gravity undergoing a massive shift, the UNSC has been criticized for not catching up yet.

While addressing global leaders at a G20 session Sunday, Modi noted the UN had 51 members during its inception in the 1940s, but now has close to 200 members.

"But the number of permanent members in the UNSC stays the same. Since then, the world has changed in every respect," he said, questioning UNSC's relevance.

Countries demanding UNSC reform argue that the retention of the same five permanent members is outdated and does not represent the current times. The P5 has also been criticized for using their veto power to shoot down substantial resolutions for their own country's personal interests.

"UNSC reforms have been long overdue," Harsh V. Pant, author and Vice President -- Studies and Foreign Policy at Observer Research Foundation, told International Business Times. "India increasingly has been making the case [saying] if the Security Council is not reformed, it is not simply about India not getting a say also about the credibility of the UN."

However, changes to the membership would only become a reality when there is consensus among all veto powers.

"Ultimately, unless there is consensus among the five Veto (wielding) members of the UNSC, there is not going to be a change in the membership," Pant said.

He also noted that China might not be too enthusiastic to allow India into the UNSC.

"I don't think China, any time soon, is going to accept a change, particularly a change where India is on par with China in the UNSC," he said.

Pant noted that Indian policymakers are now being vocal about China being one of the main reasons why India is not a permanent member and added that this would continue to be the case for some time.

"China has resisted any change," he said. "And therefore, the process is stuck because there are so many ways to scuttle the process of UNSC permanent membership expansion. I don't think there is a way out of resolving this at the moment."

India is the world's most populous country, and bears the tag of being one of the globe's fastest-growing economies. Moreover, the world's focus is no longer limited to affairs of the Euro-Atlantic, as regions like the Indo-Pacific are also gaining prominence.

Pant noted that changing the membership candidature would mean better representation and inclusion of developing economies.

"If India is not there, then 1.4 billion people are not represented in decision-making. That's not something that, in this day and change, is sustainable," Pant added.

Countries like the U.S. and Turkey have shown support for India joining the big powers at the UN's top table.

President Joe Biden had reiterated Washington's support for India's permanent membership of the UNSC on the margins of the G20 summit over the weekend as well.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also joined the chorus and backed India as a permanent member during the G20 summit. As he proposed the idea of a rotational membership, he told the media Sunday that the world was larger than P5.

"A country like India being there on the UN Security Council, we would be proud. But as you know, the world is bigger than larger than five. And when we say the world is larger than five, what we mean is that it's not only about the U.S., UK, France, China and Russia...What we say is all of them, we should only have permanent members," Erdogan said.