National Security Volume VI Issue II | April - June 2023
About the issue

This special issue of National Security examines the intensifying crisis in the global governance system. While the crisis has been developing for quite some time, the inability of the leading international institutions, principally the UN, to play an effective role in resolving the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, or earlier in Afghanistan and Iraq, or help the developing world cope with the catastrophic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the debt crisis, has further shaken the confidence of the world in the functionality of the system. There is a growing demand for ‘reformed multilateralism’, including a restructuring of the UN Security Council, especially by India.

To enhance the readers’ understanding of the systemic malaise, the reforms needed, the obstacles and the road ahead, this issue carries important contributions by three of India’s most experienced and knowledgeable former diplomats. This issue also includes articles by younger scholars on regional cooperation on climate change and China’s leadership.

Ambassador P. S. Raghavan, in his essay discusses the retreat of multilateralism as a result of the sharpening competition and conflict among the leading powers, the effects of globalisation, and technology disruptions. Ambassador Lakshmi Puri, in her essay, lays out an agenda for reforms from the perspective of the Global South. She asserts that multilateralism’s principal ‘projects’ such as maintaining peace and security, strengthening democracy, disaster and crisis management, promoting development, etc., need to be conceptualised and delivered as Global Public Goods (GPGs). Ambassador Asoke Mukerji, focuses on the urgent need for reformed multilateralism and reminds the readers that as the UN nears its 80th anniversary in 2025, the reformers need to be prepared with an action plan.

Scholar PK Khup Hangzo makes a case for enhanced regional cooperation in South Asia to tackle the challenges of climate change and prevent cross-border humanitarian crises. Kota Mallikarjuna Gupta, in his data-rich article, explores China's new central, provincial and military leaderships under President Xi. This issue also carries a detailed book review on the decline of US influence in the Middle East.

Letters and Comments

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Editorial Board
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CONTENTS: Volume VI Issue II | April - June 2023

Editor’s Note

The Crisis of Multilateralism | Sujit Dutta


The Retreat of Multilateralism | P. S. Raghavan

Reforming Multilateral Institutions in the 21st Century:India's Agenda | Lakshmi Puri


The Political Framework of "Reformed Multilateralism" | Asoke Mukerji

Abstract:The United Nations Charter specifies the primary objectives of the multilateral system as prevention of war, securing fundamental human rights, and promoting social progress and better standards of life. Yet, the UN has been unable to implement these objectives in a holistic manner. As a result, calls for “reformed multilateralism” with a “human-centric” focus have become widespread. The changed political realities of the world need to be integrated into the UN Charter to make multilateralism “fit-for-purpose” in the 21st century. India is among the leading proponents of “reformed multilateralism” and wants the system to reflect today’s realities and needs. The UN, however, is hampered by deep divisions. On one side the entrenched “permanent members” of the UN Security Council refuse to agree to any change in the status quo. On the other are the majority of UN member-states, mainly developing countries that have invested in multilateralism to ensure the implementation of a “human-centric” Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development. The advocates of “reformed multilateralism” need an action plan by 2025, when the UN marks its 80th anniversary, to achieve their objective.

Strengthening Collective Action on Climate Change in South Asia | PK Khup Hangzo

Abstract:Countries in South Asia are active participants in global multilateral processes aimed at addressing climate change, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in particular. As part of their commitments to the UNFCCC process, these countries have set out national targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction and decarbonisation. However, there is as yet a lack of collective efforts at the regional level. Given South Asia’s vulnerability to climate change, the region has a lot to gain by carving out a regional approach to address its multi-faceted impacts. Reviving a neglected regional agenda such as climate change can help address the inevitable cross-border environmental as well as humanitarian crises and reset the much needed regional multilateralism in the process.

Decoding Xi Jinping's 3.0 Team: Changes in Political and Military Leadership | Kota Mallikarjuna Gupta

Abstract:Political leaderships and their networks are influential and impactful in the decision-making process of societies worldwide. The role of the top political leaders is even more significant in authoritarian systems/single-party states like China. Absolute political power without resistance or opposition helps with quick decisions and policy formulations/alternations by government agencies. The competition to acquire power and position can be peaceful or fierce and depends on the capacities of individuals/institutions. This attempt to capture power, institutions and position among the elites of the Communist Party in China happens every five years during the Party Congress. Many factors determine the outcome of the fierce competition for power and positions in the Communist Party during the Party Congress. This fierce competition to acquire power influences ideological leanings, loyalty, political networks and governance models. The debate on the issues of consent, consensus and justice in the distribution/redistribution of power and positions in authoritarian regimes is tricky to conclude. Chinese Politics are like the ‘Great Wall of China’, where construction materials change based on geographical conditions. Chinese politics are also like the ancient Chinese board game of Wei qi, where the priority is to capture more territory over others.

Book Review

The Decline of American Influence in the Middle East | Hirak Jyoti Das

Book Release

Indian Armed Forces at the Centenary of Independence | Editor - Gautam Banerjee

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