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India seeks global support for UNSC permanent seat bid

After an emphatic endorsement from the US, India has called on other nations of the United Nations to support its bid for a permanent seat at the Security Council.

world Updated: Nov 12, 2010 13:21 IST

After an emphatic endorsement from the US, India has called on other nations of the United Nations to support its bid for a permanent seat at the Security Council.

"Most recently, India received affirmation of support from US President Barack Obama. The Indian delegation takes this opportunity to thank the US side for this kind gesture," said Bhubaneswar Kalita, Member of Parliament. "We also call on other nations to extend their valuable support to us," he told the diplomats gathered in the UN General Assembly to discuss Security Council reform.

Negotiations to reform UNSC to reflect the realities of the 21st century have been on for nearly two decades. India, however, has expressed confidence that "concrete results" would be achieved next year. "We are happy that with each passing day, countries and leaders around the world are publicly articulating their support for India's candidature as a new permanent member of an expanded Security Council," said Kalita.

The Indian parliamentarian also underlined the need for UN chief Ban Ki-moon to put his force behind the process. Ban has voiced support for reform but under existing rules the member states will have to agree on how to expand the council.

"We also hope that the UN Secretary General will complement your initiative and enthusiasm in the context of Council reforms," said Kalita. "This issue, without doubt acquires salience in the coming year as the Secretary General prepares for his second term," he said.

Negotiations have shifted from the so called "Open Ended Working Group" of the 1990s to text-based negotiations but some basic questions need to be resolved, including how many new seats should be added and should the new permanent members have veto power.

On the question of the veto, India said it was willing to "engage with an open mind," and stressed "the need for an outcome that ensures the democratisation of decision-making within the Council". The US said the next round of negotiations on Security Council reform will require "pragmatism and flexibility".

"While we know that genuine disagreements remain on certain aspects of this issue, we hope these talks lead to reform that is member-state driven and enjoys broad consensus," said Rosemary DiCarlo, US deputy envoy to the US.

DiCarlo also reiterated the US position as "open in principle to a modest expansion of both permanent and non-permanent members" and that "expansion of permanent members must be country-specific in nature". "The US will take into account the ability of countries to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security," she said, adding, "my government is committed to engaging emerging powers into the international architecture".