US for modest expansion of UNSC

Envoy Meera Shankar seeks US` endorsement for India as UNSC permanent member.

Washington: The US on Friday said it is in favour of a "modest expansion" of the powerful UN Security Council, a day after Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar sought American endorsement for India as the world body`s permanent member.

"The US has consistently said that it will support a modest expansion of the Security Council, one that would promote its efficiency and its central role in international peace and security issues," Assistant Secretary of State for International Organisations Esther Brimmer told reporters at a State Department news conference.

At a speech in Baltimore on Thursday, Shankar had hoped that the visit of President Barack Obama to India in November would result in its endorsement for Permanent Membership of the UNSC.

"We hope that President Obama`s upcoming visit would prove to be a major step forward in not only consolidating what our two democracies have jointly achieved but also for working together in areas where we are yet to see concrete progress, including genuine reform of international institutions with India given its due place," Shankar said.

"The growing support for a permanent seat for India in the UN Security Council would no doubt go a long way in enabling India to play its role to its full potential and in realising the idea of India-US relations being a key strategic partnership of the 21st century," Shankar said in her speech on Indo-US relationship at the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs.

However, when asked about it, Brimmer refrained from making direct endorsement of India as a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council.

"In general, on the Security Council issues, the (US) President has been eloquent, and has the United States supports having the Security Council reflect the realities of the 21st century, and has supported the idea of a modest expansion of permanent and non-permanent members," Brimmer said.

"We`ll continue to work with members of the Security Council and members of the General Assembly in the ongoing process that`s discussing those issues," the US official said in response to a question.