Support for India is rising: Nambiar
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Support for India is rising: Nambiar

Support for India's bid for the permanent membership has been rising, especially in the face of global calls for expansion of the UN Security Council, says Vijay Nambiar, India's representative to the Permanent Mission in United Nations, New York in a detailed interview with Shailesh Shekhar.

india Updated: Dec 29, 2003 17:44 IST

Where are we vis-à-vis the enlargement of the Security Council? There was a proposal to enlarge it.

I think there is no specific reason to say that we are in any defining position now with regard to the Security Council expansion in terms of a proposal. The recent events have, of course, drawn a lot of attention on the need for Security Council reform.

The Secretary General, in his recent report to the 58th General Assembly, has also talked about the UN being placed in a fork and that it needs to look at the question of reform. And, among the issues for reform, he has mentioned reform of the Security Council. But apart from that, there is no new proposal for a Security Council expansion at the present moment.

Is there any activity which is on in that direction?

Since 1994, there has been an open-ended Working Group of the General Assembly, established under a resolution of December 1993, which has been working on various issues relating to the question of increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters. But, this work has been going on for more than ten years and it has had its ups and downs.

What do member countries think of India's case for permanent membership?

In their bilateral contacts with us and in their general statements before the UN General Assembly, an increasing number of States have been talking about the need for expanding the council. And, in this context, many names have appeared and we find there is an increasing reference to India's qualification as a permanent member.

Why is India's name being propagated among the list of countries to be included in the Security Council?

Well, there are obvious questions of India's size, the need for representation of the developing countries, the fact a country that has a capability of contributing to the maintenance of international peace and stability in terms of its overall strength in terms of its political projection and profile. These are the factors which generally have been mentioned. And, most countries say that India is, what they call, an obvious candidate for UN Security Council.

What are India's chances of gaining a seat in the Security Council?

Well, it's one thing to talk of political support and when I say an increasing number, it is very difficult to put an absolute number to it because while people will make statements of support, there is always competing claims for membership. For example, when Germany makes a claim for membership, there are other countries of Europe like Italy who say they have an equal claim. Japan has made a claim and there are other countries in that region like South Korea who mention why should Japan be a special.

In our case obviously, our neighbour Pakistan has made certain, not objections, reasons why you may not consider India as an obvious candidate.

And, these countries have joined together and formed what is informally called here a coffee club and they have a taken a view to say that you should think of other means of securing an expansion of the Security Council, that is, you should expand the non-permanent seats and some have also talked about a rotating permanent seat. It is a contradiction because if you have a rotating seat then it is not a permanent seat. But they were saying that in regions of the developing world, you can think in terms of a rotating seat.

We have been against any partial or segmented consideration of this. We have talked of a comprehensive approach in both permanent and non-permanent seats.

There are countries which are working as spoilers over this proposal. Therefore, it is difficult to get a consolidated view of the 191 members. In order to get an enlargement of the Security Council, you will need an amendment of the charter. And on question of the amendment, you will perhaps need two-thirds majority of the membership including the acceptance of all the permanent members. That becomes a fairly laborious process. Therefore, you cannot give a time frame for the enlargement. It's got all kinds of complex questions to be considered. What we need to do is develop a momentum and wait till a consensus develops. And, most important in this, is the view of the major powers particularly the United States.

First Published: Nov 15, 2003 00:00 IST