India looking at "modest expansion" of UNSC

Last Updated: Monday, February 21, 2011 - 20:30

New Delhi: Asserting that the UN Security
Council was "hopelessly" out of tune and "desperately" calling
out for reforms, India on Monday said it was looking at the
"modest expansion" in which it would be a permanent member of
the global body.

Confident of gathering a "critical mass" for its bid as a
permanent member, diplomatic sources here said even India`s
"detractors" were not questioning its credentials for assuming
the position at the high table.

With the text-based negotiations going on and the
meetings between the countries starting next month, the
sources expressed happiness over the shortening of the text,
which, though does not reflect India`s expectations
completely, puts forth its position of expansion in both
categories -- permanent and non-permanent members of the
Council.

India is also very clear that it does not want to delay
the process of reforms of the UNSC as it wants to "try and
build on the momentum" after getting endorsement from one
of the major P5 members -- the US -- recently.

However, the sources refused to put a timeline to the
whole process and said "concommitant" efforts were on to
garner more support and it was entirely up to the
negotiations.

They also said though the country would not like to get a
resolution on reforms to vote but should there be a need to
put it to vote there will be certainly no hesitation in doing
so.

India is looking at a "modest expansion", preferred by
most of the UN members-states, including the permanent ones,
which will have the number at "low 20s to mid 20s", the
sources said.

The Security Council reform process has been going on
for almost two decades. But basic questions are yet to be
resolved, which include how many new seats should be created,
who gets these seats and when should the veto power kick in
with India refusing to be a "second-class citizen" viz-a-viz
veto powers.

If the veto power option is timeframe-linked e.g. a new
member can exercise the veto after 15 years of becoming the
permanent member, then the country does not have a problem
but it is not "acceptable" to become a "second-class" citizen
without the veto power.

The sources also appreciated the role of the Chair of
the UN intergovernmental negotiations on restructuring, Zahir
Tanin, who has prepared the short text for the negotiations.

India is member of both L69 group, which is a diverse
group of countries from Africa, Latin America and the
Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific and G-4 (Brazil, Japan,
Germany and India). Both groups want to reform the Council.

On China`s position viz-a-viz India, the sources said
they also favour reforms but one has to understand that some
countries have pre-occupation with other countries.

PTI



First Published: Monday, February 21, 2011 - 20:30

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