United Nations: After a gap of 19 years,
India was on Tuesday elected as a non-permanent member of the UN
Security Council, a position which would help it push more
aggressively for the reform of the world body`s top organ.
India secured an emphatic win, with 187 of the 191 member
states in the General Assembly backing its candidature and one
member state abstaining from the vote.
Addressing a press conference, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna thanked the global community on the country`s behalf for their overwhelming support.
This "reflects the expectations of the international community", he said adding, "Our immediate priority will be to strengthen peace and stability in our near and extended neighbourhood that includes Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa."
India, which is a founding member of the UN, has been on
the Council six times earlier, but not since 1992.
In 1996, India lost to Japan by a huge margin of 100
votes. This time, however, it is taking over the Asia seat
from Japan, being the sole candidate from the region in the
race as Kazakhstan pulled out earlier this year.
In the run-up to the vote, External Affairs Minister S M
Krishna, who was in New York for 10 days last month, met
leaders of a record 56 countries on the margins of the UN
General Assembly`s annual session.
"We have worked hard... we have pushed for every single
vote," India`s envoy to the UN, Hardeep Singh Puri, told PTI.
In February, India`s candidature was endorsed by the
Asian Group but it still had to get support of 128 countries,
two-thirds of the 192 members of the UN General Assembly.
Other "clean slate" candidates included South Africa that
got the Africa seat replacing Uganda with the vote of 182
members in its favour, and Colombia, which secured the seat
for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States,
The elected members take their spots on January 1, 2011
and will serve for two years.
South Africa has returned to the Council after a break of
two years when it had served its first term from 2007-2008.
Colombia, like India, has previously served six terms.
The five new countries will be replacing Austria, Japan,
Mexico, Turkey and Uganda. The two seats for Western Europe
and Others Group were fought for by Canada, Germany and
India, which is among the three largest troop
contributing countries to the UN, has already highlighted the
significance of all the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India
and China) being on the Council together, which could present
a united front on several contentious international issues.
It has also underlined that the IBSA (India, Brazil and
South Africa) will also be on the Council together.
New Delhi, which is seeking expansion in both the
permanent and non-permanent categories of the UN Security
Council as part of its reform, is hoping that change comes in
the next two years while it is already in the Council.
Germany won a seat on the UN Security Council in a heated
three-way race. Germany received 128 votes, one more than the
two-thirds required while Portugal and Canada secured 122 and
Portugal and Canada must now battle for a second seat on
the UN`s most powerful body for pro-Western nations.
Now that Germany has won a spot, three of the four
members of the G4 which comprises India, Brazil, Japan and
Germany will be on the Council.
At their last meeting in New York in September, Foreign
Ministers of the G4 countries, which want permanent seats in
the UNSC, decided to push ahead with the Security Council
reform and seek results at the earliest.
African, Asian and Latin American seats were uncontested
so South Africa, India and Colombia easily won the first
ballot in the 192-member General Assembly.
Ten of the Security Council`s 15 seats are filled by
regional groups for two-year terms, with five elected
annually. The other five members are the council`s
veto-wielding permanent members: Britain, China, France,
Russia and the United States.