The Obama administration has communicated to the Indian government that it believes that India’s credentials to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) are “unimpeachable.”
However, the US will only formally take a position on expansion of the permanent membership of the Security Council after its Permanent Mission to the UN completes the process of conducting an ongoing review on this matter.
Indian officials appear confident that a resolution to the long-standing demand for such an expansion could possibly be adopted by 2011.
“A fair degree of momentum is being built up,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri said.
India also hopes to win a non-permanent rotating seat from Asia on the UNSC in October 2010. While Indians diplomats are quietly confident they can muster the required votes before that election, they are being careful after being trounced by Japan in 1996. India was last on the UNSC in 1992.
Among the pieces falling in place for India’s quest for a permanent seat is the revitalisation of the G-4, the group of four countries comprising India, Japan, Germany and Brazil.
While the four nations launched a concerted campaign in 2005 and tabled a resolution before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the G-4 had become nearly dormant until this year as Japan and Germany were rarely involved.
However, the situation has changed since mid-2009, with at least three G-4 meetings already held, most recently in September.
“We are in intense negotiations. Both Japan and Germany are very much part of the G-4,” said Ambassador Puri.
According to the G-4 resolution, the number of seats on the UNSC would increase from the present 15 to 25 with the inclusion of six new permanent members and four more non-permanent members.
The attitude of the current five permanent members will be critical in the G-4 campaign reaching a desired conclusion, especially those of the US and China. Early reform also has the support of the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Group on restructuring the UNSC, Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative Zahir Tanin said.
However, there is opposition to these reforms from the group Uniting for Consensus (UFC) that includes Pakistan. The UFC seeks only expansion of the non-permanent seats.
For now, however, there is new vigour behind the G-4 campaign on the eve of the 64th session of the UNGA that begins on Tuesday. In fact, when External Affairs Minister SM Krishna speaks before the UNGA on the afternoon of September 26, part of his speech could well emphasise the urgent need for reform of the UNSC, diplomats say.