India wants to take a seat

NEW DELHI: The year 2012 will be crucial make or break time for India’s dream for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, as Indian diplomacy plans a new strategy to directly

Published: 01st January 2012 12:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:06 PM   |  A+A-


Foreign Minister S M Krishna

NEW DELHI: The year 2012 will be crucial make or break time for India’s dream for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, as Indian diplomacy plans a new strategy to directly approach United Nations General Assembly for a vote which could mark a divergence in path between the G4 countries. India is hoping to cash in on the momentum created by the outreach from its initiative for framing its proposal in a short resolution.

“It is important to keep the momentum on; at the end of this year, the traction is gone. We may not get this opportunity again,” said a senior Ministry of External Affairs official.  India’s two year term as a non-permanent member at the horseshoe table ends in December 2012.

Therefore, India’s permanent mission to United Nation in New York is working towards converting the short resolution into an “L” document—a draft text with limited distribution—which would then be put to vote in the United Nations General Assembly. “It will have the same proposal that there should be expansion in both permanent and non-permanent seats to expand and reform the United Nations Security Council,” the official said. But, the timing of when to go for the vote, has still to be decided. “The timing is always crucial. That has still to be decided, but it will be made soon, in the next few months definitely,” he added.

The green light, of course, has to be given by the political leadership. “See, there is no guarantee for anything. But, we can be reasonably be sure that this proposal is general enough to have wide-spread support among the international community,” he said.

Currently in town, India’s permanent representative to United Nations, Hardeep Puri has been strongly advocating the need to go for a vote in 2012. A lot of homework is being done by Ministry of External Affairs on the issue, as Puri spearheads the road to be taken by India on reaching its goal—a seat at the UN high table.

The draft short resolution, piloted by India and G4 earlier this year, had already collected signatures of support from 84 countries. “In United Nations General Assembly, we need two-thirds majority or 128 countries to give their support for the L document to be adopted,” said another Ministry of External Affairs official.

Interestingly, India will ask for help from the so-called L69 group of countries in floating the resolution, rather than going through the G4 group. “They (L69)have already been told about it and expressed their willingness. We will automatically get 40 co-sponsors (from L69) then ,” he said.

Incidentally, the voting will be through open ballot, where each country will be called to specify ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Once it’s passed, then the next step will be a country-specific resolution. “We expect that to be easier, as there is frankly not much opposition to our candidature for the permanent seat, compared to others,” he said.

While India and Brazil are members of the L69 group, Germany and Japan are not. “We would ask them if they are interested in being co-sponsors,” he said.

But, in recent months, India has been vocally unhappy with Japan over its ‘dithering’ and visible drift away from the G4 position. “They seem to believe that the permanent seat is not possible, so they are more and more batting for an intermediate solution with only expansion in non-permanent seats for a longer term,” said a senior MEA official.

Japan’s change in position has been perceptible since the meeting of G4 foreign ministers, and more and more apparent at meetings of the intergovernmental negotiation process last month. Further, Tokyo had called a meeting of over two dozen countries in November, with the aim of brainstorming and reaching a consensus over the future path of Security Council reforms. “But, the way it was conducted, with the Japanese talking about compromise and flexibility, struck a discordant note,” he said.


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