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UK backs India's seat among top 5 in UNSC

By Suman Guha Mozumder
September 25, 2010 10:23 IST
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The United Kingdom on Friday came out openly in support of India's claim to a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council as the British Deputy Prime Minster Nick Clegg called for a radical overhaul of the world body.

Addressing the UNGA plenary session Clegg called for enlarging the Security Council 'to make up for the failure to fully face new challenges posed by a global map' that has radically changed since the world body was founded 65 years ago.

Reform, he said, is essential and a good place to right at the United Nations.

'The UN Security Council must be reformed to reflect the new geography of power. The UK is clear and unambiguous in its support for permanent seats for Brazil, India, Germany and Japan, and for African representation. Put simply, the UN cannot speak for the many if it only hears the voices of the few….' he said.

'Let us be frank. Without a radical overhaul, the UN will not provide the leadership the world seeks from it, and needs from it.'
India's foreign minister S M Krishna had a brief bilateral meeting with the British deputy prime minister on the sidelines of the UNGA on Thursday. "It was kind of get-to know each other type,' the sources said, adding that there was no major discussion about India's claim to the Security Council seat.

"Although UK has supported India's claim to a permanent seat in the Council in the past, the statement by the British Deputy Prime Minister openly at the UNGA is significant, coming at a time when there is a chorus of demands from many member states for the reform of the UN system, particularly the Security Council," sources told rediff.com.

"In the past the British at several levels have supported India, but obviously it was good from India's point of view that they came out openly in UNGA in support of New Delhi," the sources added.

Calling generally for reform of multilateral institutions in line with the changing map of power, Clegg stressed the vital need for stronger action on international peace building, climate change and development, and the promotion of liberal values and human rights to win the conflict of ideas.

"Too many nations and international institutions have been too reticent about promoting enlightened, human values. We need to inject new life into our institutions, and new confidence into the expression of our ideals," he said.

Calling generally for reform of multilateral institutions in line with the changing map of power, he stressed the vital need for stronger action on international peace building, climate change and development, and the promotion of liberal values and human rights to win the conflict of ideas.

On Friday evening on the margins of the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Krishna and his counterparts from Brazil, Germany and Japan, the countries constituting the group of four that together has launched a diplomatic effort to reform the Security Council and include new permanent members, reiterated the need for urgent reform of the Security Council.

The reform proposal, according to the group, should include expansion of both categories of membership, permanent and non-permanent as well as improvement in the Council's working methods to make it 'more representative, legitimate, effective and responsive' to the realities of the international community in the 21st century.

The ministers noted the overwhelming support among member states for expansion of both categories of membership in the Security Council, including developing and developed countries.

While reiterating their support for each other's candidatures as aspiring new permanent members, they reconfirmed their view of the importance of Africa to be represented in permanent membership, in an enlarged Council. They also reconfirmed the need for additional non-permanent members.

The G 4 countries, including India, reaffirmed their readiness to reach out to other countries and to work in cooperation with them towards the reform of Security Council.

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Suman Guha Mozumder in New York
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