India wins UNSC seat with highest votes in 5 yrs

With 187 votes in its bag, India has received the highest number of votes for getting into the United Nations Security Council in the past five years, according to Indian diplomat.

Updated: Oct 13, 2010, 09:33 AM IST

New York: With 187 votes in its
bag, India has received the highest number of votes for
getting into the United Nations Security Council in the past
five years, according to Indian diplomat.

Hardeep Singh Puri, India`s envoy to the UN, described
this as a "ringing endorsement".

"This is the highest vote that any country has got in
the last five years," he said. "Now that`s saying a lot."

Out of the 190 countries that voted, India received
187 votes.

After the vote in the General Assembly last morning,
the diplomats of the Indian mission to the UN celebrated by
opening a couple of bottles of champagne and serving a lunch
of spicy Chinese food.

India, which is a founding member of the UN, is
returning to the Security Council after a gap of 19 years.

It has been on the Council six times before, having
last served in 1992.

Other countries to be elected are South Africa,
Colombia, Germany and Portugal.

Canada, which was also contending, received the least
number of votes and eventually withdrew after the second round
of voting.

The five new countries will be replacing Austria,
Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Uganda.

Three of the new members are part of the G4 (India,
Brazil, Japan and Germany), which want to become permanent
members.

After the vote, India made it clear that it would be
pushing for change in the next two years as it serves out it
term as a non-permanent member.

"Not only are we entering the council but we`re
entering the council when inter-governmental text based
negotiations are underway and those text based negotiations
are expected to progress for a final outcome in the next
twelve months," Puri said.

The Indian envoy asserted that countries like Brazil
and South Africa "are expected to utilise their tenure as
non-permanent members in order to facilitate longer-term
permanent membership for themselves while their serving this
terms."

While India, South Africa, and Colombia were not
challenged by any other country from their region, the two
seats of the Western European and Others Group were contested
between Portugal, Germany and Canada.

Germany made it in the first round of voting with 128
votes, just enough to scrape through, while Canada received the
least number of votes and eventually withdrew after the second
round of voting.

Puri did not comment on Canada`s performance except to
draw a parallel between the 1996 vote when India failed to
make the cut and was trailing behind the Japan in the
election.

"It took us more than a decade to overcome the trauma
of our experience in 1996," he said.

"In successive rounds of voting Canada realised that
it was not mustering the votes...it did what was honourable...
it withdrew... what the impact of that is going to be I really
don`t know... lets wait and see."

Without answering which countries India voted for,
Puri said that New Delhi was happy that Portugal and Germany
had joined the Council.

Also present in the General Assembly Hall during the
vote was veteran Congressman, Vidya Charan Shukla, who
also served as India`s Foreign Minister.

Shukla also asserted that the vote today indicated
that India enjoyed support for a longer stint on the Council.

"I felt very elated and happy because this will show
how strong we are as a candidate for the permanent
membership," he said. "The way people voted for us, it
strengthens our case for permanent membership."

Responding to Germany`s performance, which just
made the cut, Shukla said, "Germany is also candidate for
permanent membership but this kind of victory weakens their
case for permanent membership."

Pointing out that UN member-states know about India`s
aspiration for permanent membership, Puri noted that the high
number of votes indicated widespread support for its presence
on the international stage.

"That is a clear and unmistakable signal that India
and its role is not only acknowledged but respected by the
international community," he said, adding "what is important
is that you win the election not by a comfortable margin but
by a massive margin."

India will begin serving its two year term in January
2011.

PTI