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India makes strong case for UNSC expansion

India also accused the Security Council of flouting the Charter and usurping powers.

india Updated: Nov 13, 2005 11:32 IST

Making a strong case for expansion of the UN Security Council in permanent category to reflect current realities, India has asserted that the anti-colonial struggle would not be complete unless those colonised at the time it was created take their place as equal members in the decision-making panel.

Besides, it accused the Security Council of flouting the Charter and usurping powers and said the situation could be corrected only through induction of new permanent members.

Without naming but obviously referring to the US, India's UN Ambassador Nirupam Sen said the "most powerful" member of the Security Council talks of criteria for permanent membership for the Council and told it politely that those aspiring for it satisfy these criteria far more than some the current permanent members.

Sen, who was participating in the discussion in General Assembly on reform of the Council, also had some harsh world for China, though he did not name it. He said another member, in contradiction to its own revolutionary legacy, expounds the virtues of gradualism, "the classic liberal position."

"This is the old colonial argument -- you are not yet ready for independence; you cannot enter this cricket club or that hospital because you are not part of the ruling elite," he told the delegates.

Strongly refuting the argument that G-4 comprising India, Japan, Germany and Brazil, which are seeking permanent membership of the Council, are obsessed with enlargement, Sen said a glance at the resolution they had moved would show its practical and comprehensive nature and that attention was paid to working methods in details.

But only new permanent members committed to these methods can ensure their adoption, Sen told the delegates and remarked, "our obsession, therefore, turns out to be at least a comprehensive obsession."

To buttress his argument of unfairness, he quoted from a book by the then US Treasury Secretary Raymond Mikesell who says he was instructed to arrive at pre-determined quotas and, therefore, adjusted statistics and experimented with weights to ensure economic dominance of the Big Four in IMF through greatest voting power and permanent seats. France joined later.

Mikesell says that the creation of the UN and this economic planning were part of one plan -- the UN would similarly be dominated by the four war time allies.

"The 1945 political and economic orders were the result of these twin acts of gerrymandering. Both have to be profoundly transformed. Nobody wishes to gloss over the significance for mankind of this victory (in the Second World War) though it would do no harm to remember occasionally the contribution of soldiers from the colonies," Sen said.

He also rejected the suggestion of the "most powerful permanent member" that the reintroducing resolutions for expansion of the Council would be a mistake and its assessment that "we bit off more than we could chew." He asked, "unless our reach exceeds our grasp, how do we reform?"

In his address to the Assembly, Pakistani Ambassador Munir Akram said the offer of two non permanents seats by the Uniting for Consensus Group (UFC), of which Islamabad is a leading member, to Africa would in effect provide two permanent seats to it through the process of rotation.

The African Union is demanding two permanent seats in the Council, a position which G-4 supports.

Answering an argument by a member State that working methods are taken hostage if tackled simultaneously and jointly with enlargement, Sen said the truth is that they are taken hostage by the Council if they are not accompanied by enlargement.

In this context, he pointed that the "most powerful member" of the Council had rejected the suggestion that it consider a series of measures, saying, "the Council will determine its own working methods and procedures."

Criticising some of the powerful members of the Council who oppose Assembly's oversight and decry the need for Charter amendment to improve its working methods, Sen said, to say that the UN Security Council is efficient or its working methods are adequate is like saying that the Spanish Inquisition represented objective judgement and transparency.

First Published: Nov 13, 2005 11:32 IST