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India for immediate UNSC expansion

India asks the World Body to initiate work for preparation of a text on comprehensive reforms of the Council.

world Updated: Jul 20, 2007 11:50 IST

Seeking an expansion of the UN Security Council both in the permanent and non-permanent categories, India has asked the World Body to initiate work for preparation of a text on comprehensive reforms of the Council.

To make the expansion a reality, Indian UN Ambassador Nirupam Sen asked the General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al-Khalifa to initiate immediate work for preparation of a text on comprehensive reforms of the Council, including expansion in permanent and non permanent categories for inter-governmental negotiations.

He emphasised that to make the reform of the Council meaningful, it is essential that developing countries' representation is enhanced in both categories, a comprehensive improvement in its working methods is made and island and small states get greater access.

Sen was speaking at the closed door consultations of the open ended working group on Council reforms convened by Sheikha Haya. After the meeting diplomats said the 192-Assembly in all probability would miss the deadline set last year for the reform of the Council during the current session and the discussions are expected to continue during next session beginning on September.

The Council currently has five permanent members, including the United States, Britain, Russia, France and China and ten non-permanent members who are elected for a two-year term.

India, Japan, Germany and Brazil, collectively called Group of Four (G-4), are strong candidates for permanent seats in an expanded Council.

G-4 expects the Africans to have two members in permanent category. But African States are yet to decide who would represent them.

Sen's remarks came as the working group, on which all member States are represented, was discussing a report by facilitators, appointed by Sheikha Haya, who suggested an interim arrangement with a mandatory review after a certain number of years.

Among the suggestions was expanding the Council with members whose term will expire with the date of mandated review.

But Sen said the interim model might be for democratisation but would leave "untrammeled" powers of the permanent members unchecked.

Referring to some countries, especially Pakistan, supporting such an interim model, the Indian Ambassador asserted that it leaves unanswered several questions, including how to introduce a system of checks and balances in the Council and how to make decisions more optimal, thereby reducing the need for use of force.

Decrying attempts by the Council to encroach on the powers and areas of Assembly, Sen said the Council, like in a pyramid, has to rest on a wide based of the General Assembly.

"Today, the UN pyramid is standing not on its base but on is apex and is in danger of toppling over. It is equivalent to the Security Council sanding on its head and with all respects, this is not always a strong pedestal to stand on," Sen remarked amidst cheers.