India will make a determined bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council this year, with the process having begun last month, sources in the government said.

With the go-ahead for the text-based negotiations on expanding the Security Council, India is now gathering support, primarily from developing countries seeking concrete action.

India began the year by inviting 12 Permanent Representatives to the United Nations from the Caribbean nations to visit the country. Besides showcasing its economic strengths, it sensitised the Ambassadors to the need for urgently making the Security Council more representative.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will leave for New York to attend the first session of the Security Council, in which India is a non-permanent member. On the sidelines, he will interact with Foreign Ministers from the other G-4 countries. G-4 is a grouping of India, Germany, Brazil and Japan, all of whom claim to be ideally placed for seats on an expanded Security Council. Along with Brazilian Foreign Minister,

Mr. Krishna will separately meet his South African counterpart to discuss the issues affecting unanimity on representatives from the African continent.

On his return, the Ministry of External Affairs will host a Ministerial meeting of 45 least developed countries here. After a mini-gathering of east African nations on February 10, India will host an African summit in Ethiopia in the middle of this year. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will also arrive here around this time of the year. Besides other issues, the two sides will review the progress made in the bid for expanding the Council.

“We have started the work for a non-permanent seat,” the sources said, pointing out that 40 countries, including India, had already called for a much shorter text to accelerate negotiations. Called L-60, the group has rejected the proposal to have an intermediate solution in place till the real issue is decided.

This group has decided to seek the expansion of the Council from 15 (five permanent and 10 rotating) to 25 or 26. The permanent category should be increased from five to 11, with two each of the new members from Africa and Asia and one each from South America and the Caribbean. The non-permanent category should be increased from 10 to 14 or 15.

The group has sought restrictions on using the veto by proscribing it under conditions such as genocide, crimes against humanity and serious violations of international humanitarian law, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and terrorism.

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