India to get UN Security Council seat

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UNITED NATIONS: India is all set to get a seat on the Security Council as a non-permanent member after a gap of 19 years through the elections to be held tomorrow in the United Nations General Assembly.

India is expecting an easy win since Kazakhstan pulled out from the race earlier this year and there is no other challenger from the region.

While the Asian, African and Latin American seats are going uncontested with only one candidate each, the two seats for Western Europe and others Group are being fought for by Canada, Germany and Portugal.

South Africa is a shoo-in for the African seat, which leads to a configuration of three emerging economies — India, Brazil and South Africa – being on the Council at the same time.

In the run-up to the elections, Indian envoy to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri pointed out that BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) nations will occupy places in the Security Council in the coming year, and could present a united front on several contentious international issues.

“BRIC coordination in the Security Council becomes a fact of life,” Puri had said.

Indian diplomats have been canvassing for the spot for the past three years. To win, India needs two-thirds of the General Assembly vote, which adds up to about 128 giving the green light to India.

India’s last stint on the Security Council was in 1992.

The five new countries will be replacing Austria, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Uganda. Colombia is expected to come in place of Mexico.

Meanwhile, India is pushing for Security Council reform and hoping that change comes in the next two years while it is already in the Council.

If Germany wins the spot, then all four members of the G4 (India, Brazil, Japan and Germany), which want to become permanent members, will be on the Council.

The terms of the elected countries start January 1. At their last meeting in New York in September, foreign ministers of the G4 members decided to push ahead with Security Council reform and seek results at the earliest.

Speaking at the annual debate of the General Assembly, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna said that “an overwhelming majority” of nations wanted expansion of both permanent and non-permanent seats.

“It is imperative that we take these negotiations to an early and logical conclusion,” he had said.

Security Council reform will be on the agenda when US President Barack Obama visits India in November.

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This post was submitted by Remya.

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