India to press for UNSC reform by next year

India could get a permanent seat on the UN Security Council before the end of its two year term as a non-permanent member, Indian diplomats believe.

United Nations: India could get a permanent seat on the UN Security Council before the end of its two year term as a non-permanent member, Indian diplomats believe, but US officials say it will take more time as the process is "complex and lengthy".

President Barack Obama`s endorsement of India for a permanent seat on the reformed UN Security Council has led to speculation about when real change will happen since the
reform process has been cranking on for nearly two decades.

India, which enters the Security Council as a non-permanent member on Jan 1, 2011, will be pushing to speed up the reform process during its two year term.

"We are entering the Security Council after a gap of 19
years... we have no intentions of leaving the Security
Council," said India`s envoy to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri.

"In other words before we complete our two year term we
will be a permanent member... This is not going to take as
long as people think... it will be done more quickly," he said

Noting that India would be a permanent member of a
reformed Security Council, a top US diplomat said that the
"process in New York is slow."

"It is complicated by the fact that there are very
different views among member states and so the reality is that
this will continue to be a complex and potentially lengthy
negotiations," said Susan Rice, US envoy to the UN.

"It is hard to conceive of a reformed security council
that includes new permanent members that wouldn`t include
India as a permanent member," she told journalists.

"That is the significance of the President`s statement
and reflects the United States view," she said.

Despite President Obama endorsing India`s bid, most
analysts have reflected that real change in the UN Security
Council could still be years away.

Describing Puri`s remarks as "ambitious," Teresita C
Schaffer, head of the South Asia Programme at the Center for
Strategic and International Studies in Washington, described
the endorsement as "an act of faith on part of President Obama."
"I can practically guarantee you that the people in the
US government who work in the UN were not in favour of this,"
she said at the Asia Society yesterday.

Schaffer also pointed out the challenges the US and
India would face working together at the UN.

"Our relationship with India at the UN has actually been
very difficult," she said, pointing out that being a Security
Council member would be a "challenge" for India.
"They will be repeatedly asked to vote on an issue where
any vote they make is going to annoy someone they care about.
This is an uncomfortable position and one they haven`t face in
20 years," she said, referring to the last time India was on
the Council as a non-permanent member.