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India certain of UNSC seat

With no other country choosing to enter the contest, India is almost certain to be elected to the United Nations Security Council or UNSC next week, occupying a non-permanent seat from the Asia region on the body.

world Updated: Oct 09, 2010 00:54 IST
Anirudh Bhattacharyya

With no other country choosing to enter the contest, India is almost certain to be elected to the United Nations Security Council or UNSC next week, occupying a non-permanent seat from the Asia region on the body.

While voting for the election is scheduled for Tuesday, diplomats at India's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York have expressed a sense of "quiet and cautious optimism" about India's chances of garnering the 128 or more votes in the UN General Assembly to secure the election. If elected, this will mark 19 years since India has been on the Council.

India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Hardeep Puri said, "Everyone has worked very hard for India. No stone has been left unturned." Other than marshalling the campaign in New York, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna's efforts during bilateral and plurilateral engagements during the UNGA in late September has helped boost India's prospects. In addition, heads of Indian missions in various world capitals have also been engaged in the process of securing votes of as many of the 192 member states of the UN as possible.

Earlier this summer, 53 nations from Asia endorsed India's candidacy for the seat on the Council.

If elected, India will sit on the Council starting on January 1, 2011. The two-year term will expire at the end of 2012. India will also assume the rotating presidency of the UNSC at least once during its tenure.

India's path to being elected became clear after the only other nation that was a candidate for the election to that seat, the Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan, withdrew its candidacy in late December 2009.

The Security Council has 15 members including five permanent members, the P-5.

Diplomats pointed out that if India does get the requisite votes in the election from the member states of the UNGA, it will be at the "same table" as the five permanent members of the UNSC or the P-5 and that will provide the country's representatives greater ability not only to showcase the role India can play on the Council but also to constructively interface with the P-5 nations.

The critical issue of reform of the permanent membership of the Council seems several months from being clarified. But when it comes to the non-permanent seat, with what appears to consensus on India's candidature for seat, that could smoothen the path to achieving that objective.