India announced a summit of G4 countries, leading proponents of expansion of the UN security council, shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s arrival here late Wednesday. They will meet for the first time in 10 years to “build on the recent adoption of a text” for negotiating UN reforms, said India’s permanent representative to the UN Asoke Mukerji.
The summit, mooted by India, will be hosted by Modi on Saturday (September 26) and attended by Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazil President Dilma Rousseff.
The UN general assembly had on September 14 adopted a ‘Decision on UNSC Reforms’ that put before the world body a text proposal for the first time to form the basis for negotiating reforms. Negotiations are slated to begin in November and India hopes to wrap up the process by this time next year. But officials said they were aware of the challenges ahead, and that it was not going to be easy.
A group of countries, that includes Pakistan and has the tacit backing of China, is opposed to the reforms, which is generally taken to mean expansion of the security council. India is a strong contender for a permanent seat if the security council, which currently has 15 members, gets expanded.
New Delhi has the support of all five permanent UNSC members — China, Russia, US, UK and France — but is a little leery of Beijing’s offer of support. Besides, China will opposes any group that includes Japan.
By announcing the summit, said officials, India is sending a message that it plans to build on the momentous general assembly decision and keep the ball moving.
The G-4 members expect to announce a document at the end of the summit, which is still being drafted, and it will reveal how they propose to drive the negotiations, said sources.
The announcement coming at the start of the PM’s five-day visit to the US is linked directly to a recent push to the effort from India, including a letter from Modi to UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon. In the letter, Modi wrote that the UN’s “relevance and effectiveness will depend in large measure on the internal reform of the United Nations, especially its security council”.
The G-4 summit is a good start for the PM, who arrived here from Ireland to a large crowd of supporters who had waited patiently for him for hours. He did step out of his hotel, the Waldorf Astoria, once to wave at them, but that was clearly not enough as the crowds refused to disperse and kept waiting for him.
“See him on television so often, I just wanted to see him in person once,” said Jagdish Shah, a resident of Edison, New Jersey.
The PM has a busy schedule ahead, opening with a meeting with financial sector top honchoes first thing Thursday morning, in a clear indication of his priorities.