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Nehru’s Biggest Blunder

Nehru's Biggest Blunder - India’s Missed Opportunities for a Permanent Seat in the United Nations Security Council

India’s Missed Opportunities for a Permanent Seat in the United Nations Security Council

In August 1950, a significant meeting took place in the United States between Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, India’s Ambassador to the U.S. and Sister of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and John Foster Dulles, an Advisor to US President Harry Truman who later became the U.S Secretary of State. Nehru's Biggest Blunder - India’s Missed Opportunities for a Permanent Seat in the United Nations Security Council

The American side proposed to remove China from the United Nations Security Council and replace it with India. However, New Delhi rejected the proposal.

Nehru's Biggest Blunder - India’s Missed Opportunities for a Permanent Seat in the United Nations Security Council

A similar offer was made by the Soviet Union in 1955, proposing India a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council. Once again, India declined the offer. Nehru's Biggest Blunder - India’s Missed Opportunities for a Permanent Seat in the United Nations Security Council

Jawaharlal Nehru, who was the Prime Minister and his own Foreign Minister at both the time, was thus the only one responsible for these decisions.

The 1950 Proposal

The American proposal was to replace China with India in the United Nations Security Council. At that time, China was not ruled by the Communists but by the Nationalists. Nehru's Biggest Blunder - India’s Missed Opportunities for a Permanent Seat in the United Nations Security Council However, the Nationalists lost the Civil War to the Communists led by Mao Zedong in 1949.

The Americans, unhappy with the idea of another communist country in Asia, did not allow the Communists to occupy China’s UNSC seat. Instead, they proposed to take China out and put India in.

Nehru's Biggest Blunder - India’s Missed Opportunities for a Permanent Seat in the United Nations Security Council

Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit conveyed the American proposal to Prime Minister Nehru. Nehru rejected the offer, stating that it would be a clear affront to China and it would mean some kind of break between India and China. Nehru's Biggest Blunder - India’s Missed Opportunities for a Permanent Seat in the United Nations Security CouncilHe believed that India was entitled to a permanent seat in the Security Council, but not at the cost of China.Nehru's Biggest Blunder - India’s Missed Opportunities for a Permanent Seat in the United Nations Security Council

 

The 1955 Proposal

In 1955, the Soviet Union offered India a permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council. Unlike the American proposal, the Soviet Union did not propose a replacement. Instead, they suggested expanding the council and adding India as a 6th member. Nehru's Biggest Blunder - India’s Missed Opportunities for a Permanent Seat in the United Nations Security Council

The offer was made directly to Jawaharlal Nehru by Nikolai Bulganin, the then Premier of the Soviet Union. Nehru's Biggest Blunder - India’s Missed Opportunities for a Permanent Seat in the United Nations Security Council

Nehru, however, declined the offer, stating that India was not anxious to enter the Security Council at that stage. Nehru's Biggest Blunder - India’s Missed Opportunities for a Permanent Seat in the United Nations Security CouncilHe believed that the question of China’s admission and possibly of Other Countries should be solved first. Nehru's Biggest Blunder - India’s Missed Opportunities for a Permanent Seat in the United Nations Security Council

Nehru’s Dismissal of the Offers

Despite the fact that 2 offers were made in 1950 and again in 1955, Nehru dismissed themNehru's Biggest Blunder - India’s Missed Opportunities for a Permanent Seat in the United Nations Security Council and stated in Parliament in 1955 that there had been no offer, formal or informal, of this kind. Some vague references had appeared in the press about it, which had no foundation in fact. Nehru's Biggest Blunder - India’s Missed Opportunities for a Permanent Seat in the United Nations Security CouncilThis statement has led to speculation about whether Nehru considered the offers serious enough or if he regretted turning them down.Nehru's Biggest Blunder - India’s Missed Opportunities for a Permanent Seat in the United Nations Security Council

The Aftermath

The decisions made by Nehru have become a political lightning rod in present-day India. Supporters of Nehru argue that it was the right decision, while critics call it a Himalayan Blunder. The reasons behind Nehru’s decisions and whether he was right in doing so remain a topic of speculation.Nehru's Biggest Blunder - India’s Missed Opportunities for a Permanent Seat in the United Nations Security Council

Today, India is the Largest Democracy & has the Largest Population with 1.4 billion people in the world and a Nuclear Power. It is argued that India deserves a place at the United Nations Security Council. However, China, for whom Nehru rejected 2 offers, is the only country blocking New Delhi’s bid for a permanent seat.  Nehru's Biggest Blunder - India’s Missed Opportunities for a Permanent Seat in the United Nations Security CouncilNehru's Biggest Blunder - India’s Missed Opportunities for a Permanent Seat in the United Nations Security Council

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