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India gears up to serve in Security Council with new outlook

Last Updated: Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 13:13

United Nations: India is gearing up to serve the powerful UN Security Council as a non-permanent member after a gap of 19 years with a fresh outlook on several international issues, especially human rights.

India will return to the Security Council on January 1, 2011 for a two-year period along with South Africa, Colombia, Germany and Portugal.

"Over the last year we have been repositioning ourselves on issues...I can anticipate that we will be much more upfront and even demanding on human rights issues," said
Hardeep Singh Puri, India`s ambassador to the UN.

"That reflects the changing priorities in India," he told a news agency.

"I don`t see us having any problem in terms of where our interest lies and where the interest of the permanent members lie including the fact I think we are on the
same page with them on most of these issues."

One indication of this stance was the case of Iran where India abstained on a resolution dealing with human rights in that country, instead of voting against it.

"Quite likely we will review the situation and see how the situation develops and there may be even a further movement in the vote," Puri said.

The top diplomat further stressed that while India is part of G-77 and the Non-Aligned world, this affiliation would not prevent it from taking actions and positions that
contributed to the "larger public good."

"If this means going against positions that some groups take then we will have no hesitation," he said.

Puri, however, dismissed reports that India`s changing position had to do with appeasing the US and other Western countries in order to secure a permanent seat on the Security

"India takes position in a manner in which India deems appropriate and we think it is the right thing to do and it is in our interest...I don`t subscribe to the fact that we
will take positions because we are extra accommodative."

The situation in Myanmar, however, is more complicated.

While the Western nations are ready to openly slam the regime for human rights abuses, India, China and other south-east Asian nations in the neighbourhood are more
cautious in their approach.

India and China have been criticised by human rights groups for going soft on the Myanmar`s military regime to secure its trade interests and President Barack Obama has
called on New Delhi to be tougher.

"We prefer the silent counselling approach... The objectives are the same, the question is what modalities you use," Puri said.


First Published: Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 13:13

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