The stage is being set for India to formally become a non-permanent member of the United Nation Security Council for a two-year term from January 2011, when it will be back on the high table after a gap of 19 years.
As it readies for the tenure — already sitting in the closed-door Security Council proceedings without participating in them from November 15 — and riding high on the hopes for a permanent seat, New Delhi will begin a series of consultations with the permanent-5 countries (Russia, France, US, UK and China) as well as its G-4 partners Germany and Japan from Tuesday.
These confabulations are primarily aimed at sharing notes on issues the world body will confront in the coming days, including Iran and Myanmar, and how to cooperate at the council. New Delhi is also keen to gather momentum for the expansion plans of the UNSC during the talks.
Sylvie Bermann, head of their United Nations division, will lead the French team for discussions with the Indian side led by Harsh Vardhan Shringla, joint secretary (United Nations Political) in the ministry of external affairs. On Wednesday, the Japanese will meet Indian officials.
All these meetings are expected to be over by December.
“This exercise will help knowing each other’s viewpoints on a host of issues,” said a European diplomat about the series of meetings between the P-5 countries and India.
On India’s candidature for a permanent seat in the UNSC, India is hoping for either a “reiteration” of the Chinese position on the issue or a more “forward-looking” statement. The official Chinese position figured in the January 2008 joint statement during Prime Minster Manmohan Singh’s visit to Beijing. Then the Chinese had said they “understood India’s aspirations to play a larger role in global affairs including in an expanded Security Council”.
“The Chinese have said they are keen on discussing the UNSC reforms and India’s candidature, as recently as during the visit of President Barack Obama. The Chinese premier is also coming here in December, and we are hopeful,” a government official said.