India says UNSC now more credible

The presence of India and other key regional powers on the Security Council starting this week gives the UN`s most powerful body more credibility and legitimacy because it now reflects the world in the 21st century.

Updated: Jan 05, 2011, 22:36 PM IST

United Nations: The presence of India and
other key regional powers on the Security Council starting
this week gives the UN`s most powerful body more credibility
and legitimacy because it now reflects the world in the 21st
century, India`s UN ambassador said on Wednesday.
Hardeep Singh Puri said the election of India, South
Africa and Germany to two-year terms, joining Brazil and
Nigeria who were elected last year, puts five important
countries that have been campaigning for council reform and
permanent seats on the 15-member body at the same time.

He said in an Associated Press interview that the
aspirants to permanent membership have the opportunity to
demonstrate to the five current permanent members -- the US,
Russia, China, Britain and France -- and to countries against
council reform that they can work effectively on global issues
of peace and security.

"I`m not suggesting it`s a dress rehearsal, but certainly
it can provide a comfort level," Puri said.

"They might just discover that these newcomers on the
Security Council are actually more effective partners than
those with whom they have been sitting for the last five
decades."

Ten of the Security Council`s 15 seats are filled by
regional groups for two-year stretches, with five elected each
year. The other five seats are occupied by the council`s
veto-wielding permanent members.
Since 1979, the UN has been talking about expanding the
council. But every proposal has been rejected, primarily
because of rivalries between countries and regions more
concerned about their own self-interests than the improved
functioning of the United Nations.

For the first time this year, the council has a unique
membership of global powers and important emerging countries:
India and China in Asia, South Africa and Nigeria in Africa
and the biggest economic powers in Latin America and Europe,
Brazil and Germany. Japan, which also aspires to a permanent
seat, left the council in December after a two-year term.

"We want to demonstrate to our partners first of all that
we are on the same page," he said.

"We`re not interested in gridlock....If there are
differences of perception, those are only of nuance, and you
will find that when we participate in the deliberations of
the council we will do this in a constructive way in order to
ensure that the outcome of the council carries more punch."

Puri said India`s return to the council after 19 years
marked "a very important new phase" because the world has
changed, the council`s work has been transformed since the
Cold War ended, and India has become an emerging power, with a
two trillion dollar economy by 2013.

India has been a major contributor to UN peacekeeping
missions all over the world, almost 100,000 troops in total,
and Puri said the country`s first priority on the council will
be to ensure that peacekeeping operations are accompanied by
strong measures to rebuild the governments and economies of
war-torn, failing and failed states.

This is an area, he said, where India can share its
experience of transforming "a colonial economy of 190 years
into a post-colonial modern secular state with vibrant
institutions."
Puri said India will also be "an active collaborator" in
council efforts to tackle international terrorism, through
sanctions and other measures targeting the perpetrators and
financiers. He expressed hope that India will cooperate
"meaningfully" with Pakistan in the fight against terrorism.

India`s bid for a permanent seat got a boost from
President Barack Obama in November when he visited New Delhi,
and Puri said he was encouraged that the other permanent
members, including China, had come out with "encouraging
formulations" pointing in the direction of an endorsement, or
with outright endorsements.

Puri said the reform process is "gaining momentum" and he
said there might even be a vote on council expansion this
year, but he wouldn`t predict the result.

PTI