The UN Security Council in an Era of Great Power Rivalry and India’s Options

4:30–6:30 pm
UChicago Center in Delhi


The discussion featured Dr. David M. Malone, Rector, United Nations University (UNU) and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Ambassador Shyam Saran, Chairman, Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS).

India’s ambitions for permanent membership of the UN Security Council have been explicitly endorsed by at least four of the five permanent members of the Council, including most recently by President Barack Obama during his Republic Day visit to New Delhi. Yet, India’s prospects for permanent membership are complicated partly by the ongoing great power rivalry and partly by New Delhi’s inability to garner adequate support among UN member states to reform the Council. What are India’s options to fulfil its quest for permanent membership and how might it seek to make the Council more effective in this era of great power rivalry?  Our panellists addressed these questions.

Dr. Malone is one of the leading authorities on the Security Council and the co-editor of a forthcoming volume on the Council. Prior to joining the UNU Dr. Malone served from 2008 to 2013 as President of Canada’s International Development Research Centre, a funding agency that supports policy-relevant research in the developing world. Dr. Malone was earlier President of the International Peace Academy, a leading think-tank on UN issues.

Ambassador Saran has been India’s Ambassador to Myanmar, Indonesia and Nepal and High Commissioner to Mauritius. After a career spanning 34 years in the Indian Foreign Service, he was appointed India’s Foreign Secretary in 2004 and held that position till his retirement from service in September 2006. Currently, Ambassador Saran is Chairman of the National Security Advisory Board under the National Security Council.