France backs India's bid for permanent UNSC seat

France backs India's bid for permanent UNSC seat

Noting that the last reforms to the Security Council were made in the sixties, Ambassador of France to India Jerome Bonnafont said "if we want the Security Council to remain a legitimate place for handling peace and security crisis in the world, it is absolutely necessary to have India as well as couple of others as permanent members."

He said the reform was also imperative "in order to avoid unilateralism and to create an environment where countries sit together to address the threats to peace".

However, the French Ambassador here said it was a very difficult reform which needs two-third majority of the UN Assembly besides the five permanent members and "there is a group of countries" who do not want this reform but France was determined to push for it.

India has been making a strong pitch for UNSC reforms and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, currently attending the G-8 Summit in Rome, maintain that "the UNSC has not changed at all and its present structure poses serious problems of legitimacy."

"The system of two-tiered membership, which gives a veto to the five permanent members i.e. the nations that emerged victorious after the Second World War, is clearly anachronistic," Singh said in an article in the compendium on contemporary global issues brought out for the Summit.

Bonnafont also talked about the need for significant reforms of international financial institutions to address global problems and participation of emerging countries including India.

Maintaining that India and France share a very special relationship, the Ambassador said that French President Nicolas Sarkozy was the Chief Guest at the Indian Republic Day function, while Singh will be the Chief Guest at the French National Day Parade on July 14 and this goes to show the nature of the bilateral ties.

A contingent of Indian troops will also participate in the parade to mark the French National Day.

The Ambassador also identified combating terrorism, the civil nuclear sector and climate change as key areas to strengthen relations with India, saying these fields provide for mutual beneficial results.

He said France was also in consultation with Indian government on tariff fixation issue for the French civil-nuclear plants.

On the issue of climate change, he said the problem was not with "India and China, it is the is to get the US on track". The ambassador added that Europe has already made a commitment to reduce its emissions by 20 percent on 1990 as base limit, something which no other country has done so far.

However, he advocated that India should balance between the economic growth and ecological responsibility.

Talking about the bilateral relations, Bonnafont said besides having good operational cooperation between India and France, the latter was also providing assistance to increase the defence capabilities, which included production of six conventional submarines by India.

He said both Sarkozy and Singh have agreed to take steps to further strengthen the bilateral ties and this includes doubling of trade from six billion Euros to 12 billion Euros in next three years.

He said France was also making efforts to triple the number of Indian students in that country by facilitating visas and providing ways to work during and after the studies there.

He said France would also like to strengthen bilateral ties in the area of agriculture and infrastructure.

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