India looking at "modest expansion" of UNSC

New Delhi, Feb 21 (PTI) Asserting that the UN SecurityCouncil was "hopelessly" out of tune and "desperately" callingout for reforms, India today said it was looking at the"modest expansion" in which it would be a permanent member ofthe global body.

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

With the text-based negotiations going on and themeetings between the countries starting next month, thesources expressed happiness over the shortening of the text,which, though does not reflect India''s expectationscompletely, puts forth its position of expansion in bothcategories--permanent and non-permanent members of theCouncil.

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

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

They also said though the country would not like to get aresolution on reforms to vote but should there be a need toput it to vote there will be certainly no hesitation in doingso.

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

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

If the veto power option is timeframe-linked e.g a newmember can exercise the veto after 15 years of becoming thepermanent member, then the country does not have a problembut it is not "acceptable" to become a "second-class" citizenwithout the veto power.

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

India is member of both L69 group, which is a diversegroup of countries from Africa, Latin America and theCaribbean, 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 saidthey also favour reforms but one has to understand that somecountries have pre-occupation with other countries.

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