FROM THE ARCHIVES

In photos: 70 years of India’s growing clout at the United Nations

Quartz india
Quartz india

Early on Sept. 24, Narendra Modi landed in New York—his second visit since becoming India’s prime minister—to attend a series of meetings on the sidelines of the United Nations’ 70th anniversary.

Modi and his team is a far cry from the Indian delegation that attended the San Francisco Conference in 1945, when the UN Charter was signed.

Indeed, in the seven decades since the UN’s formation, India’s role in the international body has dramatically transformed from a colonial entity into a global economic power vying for a seat at its highest table.

Quartz presents a photographic chronicle of India’s evolution within the UN.

A. Ramaswami Mudaliar, supply member of the Governor General's executive council and leader of the delegation from India signing the UN Charter at a ceremony held at the Veterans' War Memorial Building in San Fransisco on 26 June 1945.
A. Ramaswami Mudaliar, supply member of the Governor General’s executive council and leader of the delegation from India, signing the UN Charter at a ceremony held at the Veterans’ War Memorial Building in San Francisco on June 26, 1945. (UN Photo/Rosenberg)
A general view of the Economic and Social Council shortly after the election of Sir Ramaswami Mudaliar (India), as Chairman. The first session of the United Nations General Assembly opened on 10 January 1946 at Central Hall in London, United Kingdom.
A general view of the Economic and Social Council shortly after the election of Sir Ramaswami Mudaliar as chairman. The first session of the United Nations General Assembly opened on Jan. 10, 1946 at Central Hall in London. (UN Photo/Marcel Bolomey)
Partial view of the 228th meeting of the Security Council as Sir Mohammed Zafrullah Khan, Pakistani Minister of Foreign Affairs, presents his Government's case in the dispute with India concerning the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

At table from left are: C. L. Hsia, China; Dr.Alberto Gonzalez Fernandez, Colombia; Guy de la Tournelle, France; Faris Bey el-Khouri, Syria; and Sir Zafrullah Khan 16 January 1948
Partial view of the 228th meeting of the Security Council at Lake Success, New York, as Sir Mohammed Zafrullah Khan, Pakistani minister of foreign affairs, presents his government’s case in the dispute with India concerning the situation in Jammu and Kashmir on Jan, 16, 1948. (UN Photo/KB)
Representatives of India and Pakistan Read News of Gandhi's Assassination
N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, Minister of India without Portfolio, and Sir Mohamed Zafrullah Khan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, read the news of the tragic death of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of India. The Security Council interrupted its consideration of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir to devote its meeting today to the memory of the assassinated Indian leader on 30 January 1948
N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar (right), minister of India without portfolio, and Sir Mohamed Zafrullah Khan, minister for foreign affairs of Pakistan, read the news of the tragic death of Mahatma Gandhi on Jan. 30, 1948 at Lake Success in New York. (UN Photo)
Seventh Session of the U.N. General Assembly. Mrs. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Chairman of the delegation of India, addressing the General Assembly on the second day of its resumed general debate. Mrs. Pandit restated her Government's view that the People's Republic of China should be brought into the United Nations. "Until the issue of Chinese representation is settled in accordance with the actual facts of the situation, our discussions here must continue to be unreal", she said on 11 November 1952.
Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, chairman of the delegation of India, addressing the General Assembly on the second day of its resumed general debate on Nov. 11, 1952 in New York. (UN Photo/MB)
Fifteenth Session of UN General Assembly: Leading statesmen from all over the world are attending the UN General Assembly now holding its fifteenth session at Headquarters.

Seen here, left to right, are: Gamal Abdel Nasser, President of the United Arab Republic; Dr. Sukarno, President of the Republic of Indonesia; Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India; Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, President of the Republic of Ghana; and Mr. Saeb Salaam, President of the Council of Ministers of Lebanon on 04 October 1960
From left: Gamal Abdel Nasser, president of the United Arab Republic; Dr. Sukarno, president of the Republic of Indonesia; Jawaharlal Nehru, prime minister of India; Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, president of the Republic of Ghana; and Mr. Saeb Salaam, president of the Council of Ministers of Lebanon on Oct. 04, 1960 in New York (UN Photo/Marvin Bolotsky)
A view of the General Assembly Hall in November 1961, as representatives gave the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, a standing ovation as he entered the Hall to take his place on the podium.
A view of the General Assembly Hall in November 1961, as representatives gave the Indian prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, a standing ovation as he entered the hall to take his place on the podium. (UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata)
Indian Troops Return Home from the Congo. Towards the end of 1962, the Government of India informed the Secretary-General of the United Nations, U Thant, that they needed to recall the Indian contingent of the UN Forces in the Congo (ONUC) to help strengthen India's own defences. At Elisabethville airport, Indian troops are seen departing for Mombasa in Kenya on their way to Bombay on 01 March 1963.
Indian troops return home from Congo after being part of the UN forces on Oct. 10, 1963. (UN Photo/BZ)
Security Council Resumes Consideration of India-Pakistan Question:The Security Council, resuming consideration of the India-Pakistan question, heard a statement this evening by the representative of Pakistan, and also statements by the representatives of the Soviet Un ion, United States, United Kingdom and France, on the way the Secretary-General was carrying out the tasks given him by the Council on this question. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Foreign Minister of Pakistan, addresses the meeting on 25 October 1965
The Security Council hearing a statement by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, foreign minister of Pakistan, on the India-Pakistan issue on Oct. 25, 1965 in New York. (UN Photo/YN)
Prime Minister of India Visits United Nations Headquarters: Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, visited United Nations Headquarters today and addressed the General Assembly. She also attended a luncheon given in her honour by Secretary-General U. Thant. Mrs. Gandhi is seen being greeted by U Thant, outside the General Assembly Hall. At left is Sinan A. Korle, Chief of Protocol of the UN. At right are C.V. Narasimhan, Under-Secretary-General for General Assembly Affairs and Chef de Cabinet, and B.R. Bhagat (far right), Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs of India on 14 October 1968
Prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi, visits the UN headquarters in New York on Oct. 14, 1968. She addressed the General Assembly and held discussions with secretary-general U. Thant. (UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata)
Secretary-General Meets with Foreign Minister of India: Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim (right) today met with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of India, P.V. Narasimha Rao, at United Nations Headquarters and had discussions on a wide range of subjects.
Secretary-general Kurt Waldheim (right) met with the minister for foreign affairs of India, P.V. Narasimha Rao, at the UN headquarters in New York on Mar. 10, 1980. (UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata)
Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi addressing the General Assembly in New York on Sept. 28, 1983.
Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi addressing the General Assembly in New York on Sept. 28, 1983. (UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata)
India's prime minister Rajiv Gandhi addresses the General Assembly in New York on Oct. 19, 1987.
India’s prime minister Rajiv Gandhi addresses the General Assembly in New York on Oct. 19, 1987. (UN Photo/John Isaac)
At a time of momentous change, the first summit-level meeting of the United Nations Security Council was held today. The meeting reaffirmed the central role of the Security Council in maintaining world peace and upholding the principle of collective security as envisioned in the United Nations Charter. Attending the meeting were 13 Heads of State and Government, as well as two Foreign Ministers, representing the members of the Security Council. Council members issued a declaration that commits their governments to measures intended to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction. The declaration also invites Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to make recommendations on ways to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations in preventative diplomacy, for peace-making and peace-keeping.
India’s prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao addresses members of the UN Security Council on Jan. 31, 1992 in New York. (UN Photo/Milton Grant)
Inder Kumar Gujral, prime minister and minister for foreign affairs of India, addressing the 52nd Session of the General Assembly in New York on Sept. 24, 1997.
Inder Kumar Gujral, prime minister and minister for foreign affairs of India, addressing the 52nd session of the General Assembly in New York on Sept. 24, 1997. (UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)
India's prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee addresses the 57th session of the General Assembly in New York on Sept. 13, 2002.
India’s prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee addresses the 57th session of the General Assembly in New York on Sept. 13, 2002. (UN Photo/Michelle Poiré)
India's prime minister Manmohan Singh addresses the High-level Plenary Meeting of the 60th session of the UN General Assembly (2005 World Summit) on Sept. 15, 2005 in New York. The World Summit was the largest gathering of world leaders in history.
India’s prime minister Manmohan Singh addresses the high-level plenary meeting of the 60th session of the UN General Assembly (2005 World Summit) on Sept. 15, 2005 in New York. The World Summit was the largest gathering of world leaders in history. (UN Photo/Joshua Kristal)
Chairperson of UPA Party Addresses International Day of Non-Violence:
Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) party of India, addresses the informal General Assembly plenary meeting on the first observance of the International Day of Non-Violence, at UN Headquarters in New York on 02 October 2007
Sonia Gandhi addresses the informal General Assembly plenary meeting on the first observance of the International Day of Non-Violence, at UN headquarters in New York on Oct. 02, 2007. (UN Photo/Marco Castro)
Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, addresses the general debate of the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly.
27 September 2014.
Narendra Modi, prime minister of India, addresses the general debate of the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly.<br />Sept. 27, 2014. (UN Photo/Cia Pak)
Commemoration of International Day of Non-Violence Sushma Swaraj, Minister for External Affairs of India, speaks at the special event on the occasion of the International Day of Non-Violence, organized by the Permanent Mission of India. The Day of Non-Violence is commemorated on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the non-violence philosophy, as an occasion to disseminate the message of non-violence on 02 October 2014
Sushma Swaraj, minister for external affairs of India, speaks at the special event on the occasion of the International Day of Non-Violence, organised by the Permanent Mission of India on Oct. 02, 2014, in New York. (UN Photo/Cia Pak)
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (right) shakes hands with Sachin Tendulkar, Cricketer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, at the launch of UN@70, a year of activities which will celebrate the Organization's seventieth anniversary on 12 January 2015
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (right) shakes hands with Sachin Tendulkar, cricketer and UNICEF goodwill ambassador, at the launch of UN@70, a year of activities which will celebrate the organisation’s 70th anniversary on Jan. 12, 2015 in New Delhi. (UN Photo/Prashanth Vishwanathan)
home our picks popular latest obsessions search