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India eyes UNSC seat for 2011-12 period

Having won HRC election, India is optimistic about a non-permanent seat, reports Nilova Roy Chaudhury.

india Updated: May 18, 2007 22:00 IST

A day after India won an election for a three-year term at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), by polling 185 votes out of a possible 192, officials said it was not reviving its bid this year, along with Brazil, Germany and Japan (the G-4) to move a resolution to expand the UN Security Council.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior official said on Friday that India, along with other members of the G-4, was consolidating its position, and trying to reduce the number of options for expansion of the UNSC.

While all members are agreed the Security Council needs reform, there are differences over the numbers of permanent and non-permanent seats to include. Some UN members, informally called the ‘Coffee Club’ (or Uniting for Consensus) and comprising Italy, Pakistan and Argentina, want no expansion in the permanent category.

The majority, like the African Union and G-4, want expansion in both categories, while a third group supported by UNGA President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa from Bahrain has floated the concept of a ‘long term renewable membership.’

Members of both other groups are working hard to ensure the third option does not come to fruition, officials said.

However, buoyed by the extent of support it received at the UN General Assembly during Thursday’s vote for a place on the HRC, India is confident it will be able to garner enough votes for a non-permanent seat on the UNSC for the 2011-2012 period. Voting for that seat will take place in October 2010.

The last time India contested for a non-permanent seat, in 1994, it was badly beaten by Japan.

India decided to put its hat in the ring for a non-permanent, two-year tenure because it has realized the wait for permanent UNS expansion could be a long one. "Meanwhile, it is important to be part of the world’s most important decision-making body,” an official said. “It will give India a larger voice in international affairs."

A total of 14 countries were elected to the HRC. Angola, Bolivia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Qatar, Slovenia and South Africa were successful after the first round of voting, while Bosnia and Herzegovina and Italy were chosen following a second round.

Bosnia beat Belarus for a seat on the HRC after a campaign by the United States, key European countries and human rights groups against the former Soviet republic's repressive rights record.

Successful countries elected by secret ballot according to a formula that allots seats among regional groups needed to obtain an absolute majority of the General Assembly’s membership of 192 States.