UN Security Council: Powers and Functions | UNSC UPSC

By K Balaji|Updated : November 8th, 2022

UNSC, or United Nations Security Council, was established in 1945, and is one of the five principal organs of the United Nation. It is headquartered in New York and is responsible for maintaining international security and peace. UNSC is also charged with accepting new members to the United Nation and approving any changes to UN Charter. India started its two-year tenure as a non-permanent member of the UNSC on January 1, 2021.

In this article, we are going to cover everything about the UNSC UPSC Notes as questions related to United Nations Security Council have been asked in the UPSC Civil Services Examination.

Table of Content

What is UNSC?

Established in 1945, United Nations Security Council is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations. The power of the UNSC includes the establishment of peacekeeping operations, international sanctions, and military action authorization through the security council resolutions.

UNSC UPSC Notes - Download PDF

UNSC is the only body of the United Nations that has the authority to issue binding resolutions to the member states. UNSC consists of 15 members, including 5 permanent members and 10 non-permanent members that are elected for 2-year terms by the United Nations General Assembly.

Functions and Powers of UNSC

Below, we have mentioned the powers and functions of the UNSC.

  • To maintain peace and security globally with the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
  • To determine the existing threat to peace and decide what action should be taken.
  • Take military action when needed
  • UNSC recommends a method of adjusting disputes
  • It also investigates any situation or dispute that can lead to international friction.
  • To call on members to apply economic sanctions and other measures to prevent aggression.

UNSC Members

There are both permanent and non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

  • The total number of members of the UNSC is 15, out of which 10 are not permanent, and 5 are permanent.
  • The 5 permanent members of the UNSC include China, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and United States. The 10, not permanent members are Albania, Brazi, Gabon, Ghana, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Norway, and United Arab Emirates.
  • The non-permanent members of the UNSC are elected for 2-year terms by the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly).
  • The five non-permanent members of the UNSC get replaced every year.

India as Non-Permanent Member of UNSC

India is a non-permanent member of UNSC for the 2-year term 2021-2022. India was elected as a non-permanent member of the UNSC by winning 184 out of 194 votes at UNGA.

  • India was the one candidate from the Asia-Pacific region for the year 2021-2022.
  • This was India’s 8th time being part of the UNSC.
  • Previously, India was a part of UNSC in 950-1951, 1967-1968, 1972-1973, 1977-1978, 1984-1985, 1991-1992, and 2011-12.
  • Being a member of UNSC, India is responsible for promoting international peace and security through its 5-S approach, namely, Samman – Respect, Sahyog – Cooperation, Samvad – Dialogue, Samriddhi – Prosperity, and Shanti – Peace.

India & UNSC

India has been trying hard for many years to become a permanent member of the UNSC, but it hasn't been successful. Even though India is one of the countries in the world with a high population, nuclear power, and a growing economy, it hasn’t been able to become one of its permanent members. India has raised a list of claims to secure its place as one of the permanent members of the UNSC, such as

  • India has become one of the fastest growing economies in the world,
  • It has the status of a Nuclear Weapons State.
  • India is the most highly populated country and the largest liberal democracy in the world.

Challenges for India in Getting a Permanent Seat at UNSC

There have been many roadblocks for India when it comes to getting a permanent seat at UNSC.

  • Even though it seems an easy process, it is made tough by the objections of some permanent members of the UNSC. especially China has been blocking India’s way of getting a permanent seat.
  • India is seen as a proliferating nuclear power, and it is one of the significant factors that has been working as a roadblock.
  • Rising polarization between the major powers is one of the challenges as well.
  • There are only 5 seats for becoming a permanent member of the UNSC. however, in 2019, France became the latest member of the UNSC and pushed the permanent seat of India.
  • For now, it seems like a distant dream for India to become a member of the UNSC.


United Nations Security Council is a part of the UPSC Syllabus. Candidates preparing for the UPSC exam can find its mention in the GS Paper-2. That’s why we have prepared the UNSC UPSC notes that would help the candidates in their preparation. Apart from the notes, aspirants can also rely on the standard UPSC Books for more information on this particular topic.

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FAQs on UN Security Council

  • UNSC full form is United Nations Security Council. It was established in 1945, and it is one of the 5 principle organs of the United Nations. United Nations Security Council is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.

  • India is a non-permanent member of the UNSC for 2021-2022. India was the only category from the Asia-pacific region for the year 2021-2022. This is the 8th time India has become a member of the UNSC.

  • There are many roadblocks that are stopping India from becoming a permanent member of the UNSC. One of the major factors is because of the fact that India possesses nuclear weapons.

  • The UNSC is composed of 15 members, of which 5 are permanent members and 10 are non-permanent. The permanent members are China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The non-permanent members are elected for 2 years terms by the General Assembly.

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