India looking at 'modest expansion' of UNSC

India looking at 'modest expansion' of UNSC

Confident of gathering a "critical mass" for its bid as a permanent member, diplomatic sources here said even India's "detractors" were not questioning its credentials for assuming the position at the high table.

With the text-based negotiations going on and the meetings between the countries starting next month, the sources expressed happiness over the shortening of the text, which, though does not reflect India's expectations completely, puts forth its position of expansion in both categories--permanent and non-permanent members of the Council.

India is also very clear that it does not want to delay the process of reforms of the UNSC as it wants to "try and build on the momentum" after getting endorsement from one of the major P5 members--the US--recently.

However, the sources refused to put a timeline to the whole process and said "concommitant" efforts were on to garner more support and it was entirely up to the negotiations.

They also said though the country would not like to get a resolution on reforms to vote but should there be a need to put it to vote there will be certainly no hesitation in doing so.

India is looking at a "modest expansion", preferred by most of the UN members-states, including the permanent ones, which will have the number at "low 20s to mid 20s", the sources said.

The Security Council reform process has been going on for almost two decades. But basic questions are yet to be resolved, which include how many new seats should be created, who gets these seats and when should the veto power kick in with India refusing to be a "second-class citizen" viz-a-viz veto powers.

If the veto power option is timeframe-linked e.g a new member can exercise the veto after 15 years of becoming the permanent member, then the country does not have a problem but it is not "acceptable" to become a "second-class" citizen without the veto power.

The sources also appreciated the role of the Chair of the UN intergovernmental negotiations on restructuring, Zahir Tanin, who has prepared the short text for the negotiations.

India is member of both L69 group, which is a diverse group of countries from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific and G-4 (Brazil, Japan, Germany and India). Both groups want to reform the Council.

On China's position viz-a-viz India, the sources said they also favour reforms but one has to understand that some countries have pre-occupation with other countries.