Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will seek support for India’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) when he meets his counterparts at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) later this week in Trinidad. “This issue is part of the agenda,” confirmed government sources.

External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna is already in New York on the same mission meeting with several Permanent Representatives to the United Nations from other nations, added the sources.

India is taking no chances for the election from the Asian quota for 2011-12 after the last bid for a UNSC non-permanent seat over a decade back ended in a defeat at the hands of Japan, and the abortive bid to make Shashi Tharoor the U.N. Secretary General fresh in memory.

The Commonwealth Summit will be a useful forum for the Prime Minister to sound out his counterparts, said the sources. The grouping forms over a quarter of the strength of the U.N.

India’s only competition is Kazakhstan and the winner must get two-thirds of the votes in the U.N. General Assembly to qualify for the seat.

The elections are due in October next year but the process is seen as stamina-draining and must begin well in advance for promises of a quid pro quo have to be given, sometimes to support the other country for a UNSC seat 15 years in the future.

The campaign on the ground is being managed by diplomat Anupam Ray who had ensured the victory of Kamlesh Sharma as the Secretary General of the 53-nation Commonwealth, said the sources.

India has been a non-permanent member of the UNSC several times but its last stint was 17 years back. Even if Kazakhstan backs out, India must ensure that it gets a healthy quantum of votes in keeping with its reputation as a rising but benign power. New Delhi expects Germany, its ally in reforming the UNSC, to bring around European Union members as it is also in the fray for the quota from Europe.

Dr. Singh and Mr. Krishna will be stiching up more alliances to make sure the lid is sealed on India’s quest for the UNSC seat even if it is a temporary one and not the permanent seat that New Delhi desires.

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