The United Nations permanent membership of the Security Council is the most prestigious engagement.
At present, five countries – America, Russia, France, Britain and China – hold it.
Though, these nations are occupying seats due to their pre World War II political stature and also due to their combined fight against fascism, there are other reasons also.
Many nations sitting outside feel that they too have the required credentials, but the ‘big five’ are keeping them away.
To avoid such controversies , the Security Council might expand its permanent membership to six.
Some faint voices have also demanded a seat for the Muslim world, but it is an ambitious cry from Muslim intellectuals, and none of the Muslim countries is inclined or interested to do so.
Apparently three countries, India, Germany and Japan, are in the race, but so far only India has launched an open campaign, while the other two are only conveying their desire.
But India’s handicap is it’s terrible human rights violation record in Punjab and Kashmir. The other drawback is it’s involvement in conflicts within region.
On its northern borders it has conflicts with its equally big neighbor China and also with the tiny kingdom of Nepal.
On eastern periphery Bangladesh remains an ever-complaining neighbor, and on its western borders Pakistan feels threatened by its over-growing military strength.
Thus in the regional context, India’s track record does not make it a morally confident contender.
Should the seat go to India, it could present a dilemma for other regional states.
For the regional countries, there are only two options left: they should either accept India being honored or oppose its bid vociferously.
Pakistan may not support India and the other neighbors will also oppose her attempt.
If Pakistan remains adamant, India may not get the seat.
It has, therefore, to take the crucial decision that may become the basis for either everlasting friendship or add to the ongoing enmity.
Given the attitudes that the BJP hardliners have for Pakistan, it appears that enmity would be preferred.
However, much will depend upon the continuity of Agra summit to resolve Kashmir dispute, which will help both sides in having some kind of understanding on all issues.
How and when this understanding becomes physical reality, is a question, whose answer rests with time.
Until then India’s desire to have a permanent place in Security Council could remain a distant dream.