India has joined the UN Security Council as its non-permanent member for a two-year term after a gap of 19 years, hoping that the seat at the high table will not only cement its place as a key global player, but also pave the way for becoming a permanent member of the powerful wing of the world body.
Beginning January 1, India along with Germany, Portugal, South Africa and Columbia became the five non-permanent members of this 15-member body.
India's approach to key global issues would be keenly watched not only by the members of the United Nations – especially the third world countries – but also from the P5, in particular the US who would like New Delhi to align itself with and support Washington’s move on burning issues like Iran.
As India celebrates the support of US President Barack Obama for its quest to become a permanent Council member, India's ambassador to the UN, Hardeep Singh Puri, said New Delhi is ready to serve in the powerful structure with a fresh outlook on several international issues, especially human rights.
"Over the last year we have been repositioning ourselves on issues...I can anticipate that we will be much more upfront and even demanding on human rights issues," Puri said.
"That reflects the changing priorities in India," he said earlier.
"I don't see us having any problem in terms of where our interest lies and where the interest of the permanent members lie including the West...in fact I think we are on the same page with them on most of these issues," he underlined.
The top diplomat further stressed that while India is part of G-77 and the Non-Aligned world, this affiliation would not prevent it from taking actions and positions that contributed to the "larger public good."
"If this means going against positions that some groups take then we will have no hesitation," he said.
Puri, however, dismissed reports that India's changing position had to do with appeasing the US and other Western countries in order to secure a permanent seat on the Security Council.
"India takes position in a manner in which India deems appropriate and we think it is the right thing to do and it is in our interest...I don't subscribe to the fact that we will take positions because we are extra accommodative," he underlined.
India's two year term as a non-permanent member ends in December 2012.
The seats for the 10 non-permanent members are filled from regional groupings for two-year terms. The five existing non-permanent members are Bosnia, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon and Nigeria.