Thanking the member states of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that elected India as a non-permanent member of the organisation on Tuesday, Union External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said diplomats working around the clock had ensured that India won well over the two-thirds required to record a win or endorsements from at least 128 members out of the total strength of 192.

Speaking at a late night news conference soon after the results were known, Mr. Krishna said it was the first time that India's close allies such as Brazil and South Africa, besides the five permanent members, will be represented on the UNSC.

India had no competitor from Asia group after the withdrawal of Kazakhstan earlier this year.

The last time India was part of the UNSC was in 1991-92. It suffered a shock defeat in 1996 when it lost to Japan despite banking on solidarity among developed countries. India will take over as a UNSC non-permanent member from Japan on January 1, 2011, for the seventh time.

The UNSC has five permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom — who have veto rights. There are also 10 rotating members who have the right to vote, but cannot veto a resolution.

Mr. Krishna played down this aspect by pointing out that the veto is rarely used.

However, on the issue of a permanent seat in an expanded UNSC, Mr. Krishna said the five permanent members were not as enthusiastic as developing nations and felt they were delaying the process. On the other hand, the Group of Four (G-4) — India, Brazil and Germany and Japan (with South Africa kept in the loop) — have been trying to hasten the process of reforms.

Despite “overwhelming” consensus among member countries, he pointed out that the expansion of the UNSC would be an uphill task unless the five permanent members were “willing to play ball with us.”

“We are hopeful that we will be able to carry a large number of countries with us, but we have not been able to drive the same kind of conviction with the permanent members of the UNSC, but we are at it,” Mr. Krishna said.

“The UN charter was written in 1945. We are now at the end of the first decade of the 21st century and we do not see UN reforms coming yet. But we are also aware of the severe limitations that are imposed by the other circumstances, where entrenched powers are not as enthusiastic as many developing countries,” he added.

Reform process

In New York, Mr. Krishna had urged the U.S. to take the lead in the reform process and work with Russia and China to address their “insecurities” regarding UNSC reform. In a meeting with the other G-4 members, he wanted them to continue working towards achieving early reform.

Keywords: United Nations

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