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Blair all for India in UNSC

Blair used a Washington platform to make a strong pitch for permanent seats for India, Germany and Japan.

india Updated: May 28, 2006 18:18 IST

British Prime Minister Tony Blair used a Washington platform on Friday to make a strong pitch for permanent seats for India, Germany and Japan in the UN Security Council.

In a forceful speech on the need for sweeping UN reforms, Blair went so far as to say that a Security Council “cannot be legitimate in the modern world” without representation to the three nations. “A Security Council which has France as a permanent member, but not Germany; Britain, but not Japan; China, but not India — to say nothing of the absence of proper representation from Latin America or Africa — cannot be legitimate in the modern world.”

Blair, addressing students of Georgetown University, made it clear that reforms cannot be postponed. “I used to think this problem was intractable. The competing interests are so strong. But I am now sure we need reform. If necessary, let us agree on some form of interim change that can be a bridge to a future settlement. But we need to get it done,” he said.

He favoured granting more powers to the UN Secretary-General to improve the organisation's ability to react to international crises. He felt the UN chief should be empowered to propose action to the security council for resolution of long-standing disputes.

The UN reforms issue also figured in Blair’s remarks earlier at a joint press conference with President George W. Bush. “What we want to do is to make sure the UN is an effective instrument of multilateral action.”

A State Department spokesman, asked specifically about Blair's call for accommodating India in the UNSC, stuck to the US position of confining its endorsement of Japan. “At this point, the only country for which we have come out in favour of a Security Council seat is Japan. And there’s no change to that,” said spokesman Sean McCormack.