Burns strongly backs India's claim for permanent UNSC seat

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New Delhi, Aug. 18 (ANI): Former US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and the State Department's former top civil servant, Nicholas Burns, who played a key role in hammering out the Indo -US nuclear deal, has backed India's claim for permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council.

Addressing enterpreneurs and former diplomats at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here, Burns said: " A United Nations Security Council without India looks like the institution of 1945, the era of (Harry S.) Truman, (JOseph) Stalin, (Winston) Churchill, its a ancient vanished world." "How will we think of solving global issues without India and Japan at UN Security Council," he added.

Burns' endorsement for New Delhi's membership in the UNSC comes more than two months after India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Hardeep Puri, demanded an expansion of both the permanent and non-membership of the UN Security Council to reflect contemporary reality.

Puri then said that any delay in this regard would make the United Nations lose more credibility and effectiveness.

"A reorganization is definitely long overdue, hence inevitable," Puri said while noting that the world order has been transformed beyond recognition since 1945 when the UNSC was set up.

He was speaking at an informal plenary meeting on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council.

Puri proposed an expanded UNSC of 25 seats, with 11 permanent and 14 non-permanent members as "the most optimal option."

He said that of the six new permanent members, two each should be from Asia and Africa, while one each sould be from Latin America and The Western European and Others Group (WEOG). The four additional non-permanent seats would be distributed equally amongst Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.

The WEOG is one of several unofficial regional groups in the United Nations that act as voting blocs and negotiation forums. Apart from Western European nations, the 29-member group includes Canada, Australia, and New Zealand among others.

Noting then that the council has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, Puri said: "It is in our collective interest that this body is able to discharge its functions effectively, in real-time."

Although, relations between India and the United States has improved considerably in the last decade, and especially after the signing of the Indo-US nuclear deal, Washington is yet to formally support New Delhi's bid for a permanent seat in the UNSC.

In fact, the US has been pitching for Japan's inclusion as a permanent member in the UNSC.

Burns admitted that altering the UN charter is difficult business where you need 128 votes, but expressed optimism about India's chances of becoming a permanent member of the UNSC.

"It is long overdue. We are bound see this happening. I am not saying this on imaginative but on a realistic basis," Burns said.

The Council is currently composed of five permanent members - China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States - and ten non-permament members (with year of term's end): Austria (2010) Japan (2010) Uganda (2010) Burkina Faso (2009)Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (2009) Viet Nam (2009) Costa Rica (2009) Mexico (2010) Croatia (2009) and Turkey (2010). By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

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