Country will eventually get permanent membership, says Kalam

India will eventually get permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council as it is “undemocratic” to keep out a country of over a billion people from the decision-making process, the former President, A.P.J Abdul Kalam, has said.

“It [permanent membership at the UNSC] will come. You cannot keep a billion people away from the decision-making process,” Mr. Kalam, who concluded his first ever visit to China, told CCTV in an interview aired on Sunday.

“A billion people how can you keep away and keep veto power? It is not democratic,” the 81-year-old “Missile Man of India” said in response to a question.

Barring China, the veto-wielding permanent members — the United States, Russia, Britain and France — have, in principle, conveyed their support for India’s permanent membership at the high table.

Officially, China maintains that it understands India’s aspiration to play a bigger role in the U.N. and in the UNSC but has not yet opened up to reform of the Security Council. However, privately top Chinese officials have in the past told Indian leaders that Beijing has no problem with New Delhi getting the veto-wielding membership but it is averse to Japan getting the same.

Mr. Kalam came to China at the invitation of the Beijing Forum, an intellectual body sponsored by the Chinese government. He was also invited to teach at Peking University here.

In the interview, Mr. Kalam said India and China, which together make up 37 per cent of the world population, should combine their strengths to work together, instead of harping on their differences.

India was good in software and services and China excelled in manufacturing. Together, they could make products to capture world markets, he said.

On China’s one-child policy, Mr. Kalam said it could not be implemented in India as it was a democratic country. But at the same time, several Indian States were successful in implementing family planning policies, advocating the two-child norm by successfully promoting education of the girl child. This, in turn, would bring about awareness of the small family, he said. Mr. Kalam was also invited to the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), the premier body in-charge of the country’s burgeoning space programme, where its top officials evinced interest in collaboration for a space solar power mission with India.

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