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India, G4 partners push hard for Security Council expansion

world Updated: Feb 12, 2011 19:31 IST

IANS
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India along with Brazil, Germany and Japan - the other G4 countries - has called for expanding the permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council in the current General Assembly session.

The group offered to share its nation building experience with the global community.

"There is widespread support for a member-states driven initiative to take the process of the much-needed reform of the Security Council towards a concrete outcome in the current session of the UN General Assembly," the four nations, dubbed the G4, said in a joint statement after a meeting of their foreign ministers at the United Nations on Friday.

The meeting was attended by India's External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, Brazil's Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Germany's Guido Westerwelle and Japan's State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Takeaki Matsumoto.

It was the second meeting of G4 ministers in six months to discuss UN reforms.

"The ministers, therefore, agreed to press ahead, with all necessary steps to achieve at the earliest an expansion in both the permanent and non-permanent membership categories of the Security Council," the statement said.

"Towards this goal, the G4 countries reaffirmed their readiness to reach out to other countries and to work in close cooperation with them in a spirit of flexibility," it said.

"No country has contributed as many peacekeepers to as many peacekeeping operations as India," External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said on Friday, speaking at the UN Security Council for the first time since India became a non-permanent member of the top UN decision-making body.

Calling for a reform of the international structure for maintaining peace and security and peacebuilding, Krishna said: "Global power and the capacities to address problems are much more dispersed than they were six decades ago. The current framework must address these realities."

Noting that India had returned to the top UN body after 19 years which "have been transformational for India," he said: "We believe that an effective and efficient Security Council is in our common interest and we will work towards strengthening it."

India, he said, understands the expectations that accompany its council membership and is acutely conscious of the need for effective coordination between the five permanent members and "the elected members, especially those whose credentials for permanent membership stand acknowledged."

"On issues concerning international peace and security, all of us are on the same page," Krishna said, expressing happiness that the process of closer cooperation is making headway.

The minister also reaffirmed India's commitment to making its vast experience in over six decades of nation building available to global efforts towards greater development and improved security.

Recalling Mahatma Gandhi's remark that "poverty is the worst form of violence", he noted the UN Charter, recognising that violence and the lack of development are interrelated, commits it to promoting "social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom."

As "unevenness of the development process and disparities prevailing on a regional, national and global scale feed into a vicious cycle," he said, "our efforts should, therefore, focus on promoting development for all by encouraging economic activity and enhancing their livelihood security."

The four nations, which have been seeking a status on a par with the current council's five permanent members - the US, Russia, China, France and Britain - noted that they "hold a number of common positions on the major contemporary challenges to international peace and security".

The four countries reiterated their commitments as aspiring new permanent members of the UN Security Council, as well as their support for each other's candidature.

They pushed for the inclusion of Africa in the permanent membership of an enlarged council.

They also reconfirmed the need for additional non-permanent members and improvement in the council's working methods.

The current council is composed of five permanent members with veto power and 10 members elected for two-year terms.

Germany, Brazil and India are currently serving two-year terms on the council. Japan assumed non-permanent membership of the council for more than 10 terms.