India to contest UNSC seat

India to contest UNSC seat

New Delhi believes that this will be the major pitch that India will be making in its ultimate bid to enter the Security Council as a permanent member. If India succeeds in its bid for the non-permanent post, then it will be for the second time in the UNSC that it will be a non-permanent member. It first won the bid 19 years ago. India secured a major boost recently as its candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the Security Council was endorsed by the Asian Group in the UN General Assembly.

Support to India

Nineteen countries including Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh have favoured giving India a spot on the Security Council table starting January 2011. Earlier this year, Kazakhstan withdrew from the electoral race leaving India with a clean slate for 2010-11.

There are 15 members in the Security Council, consisting of five veto-wielding permanent members (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States) and 10 elected non-permanent members with two-year terms. The non-permanent members are chosen by regional groups and confirmed by the UN General Assembly. The Asian continent has two seats and India will contest one of them.

The non-permanent member can participate in Security Council discussions in matters by which the Council agrees that the country’s interests are particularly affected.  In recent years, the Council has interpreted this loosely, allowing many countries to take part in its discussions. Non-members are routinely invited to take part when they are parties to disputes being considered by the Council.

India’s permanent representative to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri had said last month that “this has to be formalised in October by the General Assembly”. Regarding India joining the UNSC as a permanent member, Puri said he was “hopeful that before we finish our non-permanent seat tenure, there will be an expansion in both the permanent and non-permanent categories and India will be part of it”.

India is continuing its lobbying for the permanent seat in the UNSC. External Affairs Minister S M Krishna has already met representatives of about 70 member-countries and and is learnt to have seured the support of most of them for the permanent seat. He hopes to meet many more in the next few months. Krishna also sought and secured the support of Mauritius during his two-day visit which ended on Sunday.