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Lecturrete topic 403 - Role of India in United Nations



India, the world's largest democracy and the second-most populous country, has been an active participant in the United Nations (UN) since it became a founding member in 1945. With a rich history of diplomacy and a commitment to multilateralism, India has played a significant role in various aspects of the UN's work. From peacekeeping missions to advocating for sustainable development and human rights, India's contributions have been diverse and impactful. This article delves into India's role in the UN, highlighting its key contributions, challenges, and future prospects.

Historical Background

India's relationship with the UN dates back to its inception. As a founding member, India signed the UN Charter on June 26, 1945, and has since been a strong proponent of the principles enshrined in the charter. Over the decades, India's engagement with the UN has evolved, reflecting its growing influence on the global stage.

Peacekeeping Contributions

One of India's most notable contributions to the UN is its involvement in peacekeeping operations. Since the first UN peacekeeping mission in 1948, India has been one of the largest contributors of troops and police personnel. Indian peacekeepers have served in various conflict zones, including Korea, Congo, Somalia, Rwanda, and Lebanon.

As of 2021, India had contributed over 250,000 troops to 49 UN peacekeeping missions, with 175 Indian peacekeepers losing their lives in the line of duty. India's commitment to peacekeeping is not just about numbers; it also involves providing critical capabilities, such as engineering, medical support, and logistics.

Advocacy for Multilateralism

India has been a strong advocate for multilateralism, emphasizing the importance of international cooperation to address global challenges. This commitment is evident in India's participation in various UN bodies and forums. India has served as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) for eight terms, with its latest term in 2021-2022.

During its tenure on the UNSC, India has focused on issues such as counter-terrorism, maritime security, and peacebuilding. India has also been a vocal advocate for the reform of the UNSC, arguing for a more representative and inclusive council that reflects the current geopolitical realities.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

India has been at the forefront of efforts to achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 global goals aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring prosperity for all by 2030. India’s commitment to the SDGs is evident in its domestic policies and international initiatives.

The Indian government has launched several programs aligned with the SDGs, such as the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission), Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (Save the Girl Child, Educate the Girl Child), and the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Housing for All). India has also played a key role in global climate action, being one of the leaders of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), which aims to promote solar energy and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

Human Rights and Humanitarian Assistance

India's role in promoting human rights and providing humanitarian assistance is another significant aspect of its engagement with the UN. India has been an active participant in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), advocating for a balanced approach that respects national sovereignty while addressing human rights violations.

India has also been a major provider of humanitarian assistance, responding to natural disasters and humanitarian crises around the world. For instance, India provided significant aid to Nepal following the devastating earthquake in 2015 and has been actively involved in supporting Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

Challenges and Criticisms

Despite its significant contributions, India has faced challenges and criticisms in its role at the UN. One major challenge is its quest for a permanent seat on the UNSC. While India has garnered support from several countries, the reform process has been slow and contentious.

India has also faced criticism over its human rights record, particularly concerning issues in Kashmir and the treatment of religious minorities. These criticisms have occasionally strained India's diplomatic relations and impacted its standing in international forums.

Future Prospects

Looking ahead, India is likely to continue its active engagement with the UN, driven by its growing global stature and commitment to multilateralism. As the world grapples with complex challenges such as climate change, terrorism, and pandemics, India's role in the UN will be crucial in shaping effective and inclusive responses.

India's push for UNSC reform is expected to remain a key priority, along with its efforts to strengthen global governance mechanisms. Additionally, India's leadership in promoting sustainable development and climate action will be vital in achieving the SDGs and the Paris Agreement targets.


India's role in the United Nations has been multifaceted and significant, reflecting its commitment to international peace, security, and development. From peacekeeping to advocating for human rights and sustainable development, India's contributions have been substantial and impactful. As India continues to rise on the global stage, its engagement with the UN will be crucial in addressing the world's most pressing challenges and shaping a more inclusive and equitable international order.