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UNSC reform will enhance Council's credibility, says India

Arguing for urgent reform of the UN Security Council to reflect "contemporary realities", India has said a common refrain among countries is that the world can no longer be subjected to the mercies of a "woefully inadequate system" that was established more than half a century ago.

world Updated: Nov 29, 2011 17:26 IST

Arguing for urgent reform of the UN Security Council to reflect "contemporary realities", India has said a common refrain among countries is that the world can no longer be subjected to the mercies of a "woefully inadequate system" that was established more than half a century ago.

India's Ambassador to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri told the 15-member UN body that its expansion and reform is "essential" and must be pursued with "renewed vigour and urgently enacted" as such a move will enhance the Council's credibility and effectiveness in dealing with global issues.

Puri said, reflecting on the "big picture," the Indian delegation sees a "mosaic that is neither appealing nor sustainable."

"The moot questions that are being asked the world over are: What is the alternative to the current Security Council?; How long should the world be subject to the mercies of a woefully inadequate system erected in 1945?; What prevents the international community from replacing an outdated governing architecture based on a selective interpretation of the dictum 'to the victor belong the spoils'?"

Amid the lack of progress on the UNSC reforms, there is growing recognition of the fact that the widespread feeling of marginalization among the un-represented and under-represented is leading to a sharp sense of frustration, which has the potential to unravel the existing system.

A large number of UN member states feel the size of the Council should be expanded from the current 15 to around "mid-20s".

The established order should hasten to acknowledge the frustration and act credibly on it, Puri said, adding that "those who swear by the status quo and therefore latch on to their national positions risk contributing to a process that could endanger the entire edifice of international relations as it is presently structured.

"Change should usher in a new order. The new order has to assume responsibility. Once such responsibility is effectively discharged the Security Council will be taken seriously on all issues, and not merely on those in which by a conspiracy of factors unrelated to the maintenance of international peace and security some of the powerful are able to agree."

Puri said there is wide support for a short resolution that calls for reform including expansion of the Council in both the permanent and non-permanent categories and improvement in its working methods.

So far, an overwhelming majority of delegations have signaled their support for this proposition, including 80 or more that have done so in writing.

"We could even adopt this as a General Assembly resolution. It does not necessitate any Charter amendment and it does not exclude any other model. In fact, its adoption will articulate the general membership’s resolve to engage in good faith negotiations," Puri said.

Apart from support for the 'veto restraint agreement,' some member states are in favour of "equitable geographical distribution" as selection criteria for new members.

India is a member of two groupings devoted to early reform of the Security Council, namely the G4 and the L69.

Puri said India is keen to enhance its convergences with other like-minded groups during the current General Assembly session, particularly with the African Group whose aspirations it supports.

Puri said the Council will function more effectively and efficiently if it is able to utilize the energies and resources of its most willing and capable member-states on a permanent basis.

"Along with membership will have to come responsibility, along with responsibility will come the willingness of burden sharing including where the costs are beginning to pinch and hurt the permanent members."