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India pitches for expansion of UNSC

Buoyed by the US support for UN reforms and New Delhi's key role in the process, India has demanded an increase in both permanent and non-permanent seats in the UN Security Council to make it more efficient and democratic.

world Updated: Jun 03, 2010 19:08 IST

Buoyed by the US support for UN reforms and New Delhi's key role in the process, India has demanded an increase in both permanent and non-permanent seats in the UN Security Council to make it more efficient and democratic.

"There cannot be any reform without expansion in both the categories of membership," Hardeep Singh Puri, India's envoy to the UN, said in New York Wednesday night.

"Equally, expansion only in the non-permanent category or any of its other variants does not constitute reform and is merely the perpetuation of the current inefficiency by the same ineffective means in vogue since 1963," he said.

He was speaking at a closed-door meeting at the UN headquarters that was held to discuss the negotiating text for the Security Council reforms. Puri also underlined that an overwhelming number of countries supported expanding UN Security Council from the current 15 to the mid-20s.

India, Japan, Germany, South Africa and Brazil are seeking permanent seats in the UN Security Council.

Puri's remarks came a day after US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns said India would play a "central part" in the Security Council reform process but stopped short of publicly endorsing the country's claim for a permanent seat.

"We're open to expansion of permanent membership of the council and we believe that India's going to have a central part to play in the consideration that's going to come of that reform of the UN Security Council," Burns said.

Three permanent members of the UN Security Council - Britain, Russia and France - have supported India's bid for the coveted permanent seat in an expanded UN Security Council. The US has supported Japan's claim, but has yet to come out unambiguously in support of New Delhi's candidacy. China has expressed support for India's bigger role on the international stage, but has kept its options open.

The reform of the UN Security Council has acquired a fresh momentum with around 144 countries signing a request to start text-based negotiations.

Zahir Tanin, Afghanistan's permanent representative to the UN, also the chairperson of the process, asked member states to submit proposals that can be worked into a negotiating text, which will form the basis for future discussions.