On Board Special Aircraft: As he embarked on the first visit to Peru and Cuba by a Vice President, Hamid Ansari today said India will press for reforms in the UN Security Council as the current dispensation is "inadequate". "Our agenda about restructuring of the United Nations has always been consistent. We feel the present arrangement is inadequate to the requirements of the developing situation," Ansari told reporters accompanying him.
Indicating that reforms of the UN is a long-term affair, he said, "We are aware that those who are in power will not easily give in...But we will keep up the efforts."
Ansari is visiting mineral-rich Peru and Communist Cuba as part of India`s thrust towards Latin America.
The eight-day official visit will also take Ansari to Britain, where he will deliver a lecture at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies on "Identity and Citizenship".
Several agreements, including one on setting up a Joint Commission and another in the area of culture, are expected to be signed during the three-day visit to Peru.
India-Peru relations have traditionally been cordial and friendly and Lima is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and G-77, while Cuba supports India`s inclusion as a permanent member in a restructured UN Security Council.
Ansari said Peru is "increasingly a major factor in the global economy" and is the fastest growing economy in Latin America. As India is increasingly reaching out to Latin America, he said, "the region is as relevant to us as Africa and Australia".
"At a time when the world is contracting, there is no such thing as a far-off country...Every country has potential and it can be a partner in cooperation."
Ansari did not agree with the assumption that India is following China by doing diplomacy through trade. He said India`s engagement with various countries was of a "comprehensive" nature.
Despite India and Cuba enjoying deep, enduring and historical relations as founding members of NAM, Ansari`s visit to Havana during October 29-30 is the first VVIP trip to the Communist country.
"I am myself surprised that there have been so few high level visits to Cuba," said Ansari, a former diplomat. He recalled how then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had instructed officials to take care of Fidel Castro at the 1983 NAM summit in New Delhi when Cuba handed over the leadership of the grouping to India.
Ansari noted the extensive involvement of state-owned ONGC Videsh Limited in Cuba, Mexico and Venezula. Hailing the way Cuba has worked since its revolution, he said, "It has sailed its craft in adverse weather for a very very long time."
The reference was apparently to the problems and adversities suffered by Cuba due to US sanctions over the decades.