India Intensifies Push for U.N. Seat
Byline: Maseeh Rahman, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
NEW DELHI - India stepped up its campaign this week for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council to match the country's growing economic and strategic clout.
External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh made a forceful presentation of India's case Wednesday during a meeting with visiting U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
The demand to change the Security Council's setup of five permanent members also will be a big part of talks with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who arrived in the Indian capital yesterday.
Japan, India, Brazil and Germany have united to lobby for the coveted U.N. council seats.
"We are in touch with a large number of countries, and we are following the process of U.N. reforms very closely," External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said Wednesday.
Speaking to diplomats and policy analysts at the end of his three-day visit to India yesterday, Mr. Annan said candidates for new slots should not expect to get veto power if the Security Council were expanded.
"I believe enlargement without veto is a major step forward," Reuters news agency quoted him as saying. "Let us not get so focused on the veto."
Mr. Annan also said later that U.N. members generally agree that Asia should provide the next head for the global body, after a break of three decades. The last secretary-general from Asia was U Thant of Burma, whose decadelong term ended in 1971.
Last month, Mr. Annan proposed a wide range of reforms for the world body, including expanding the Security Council membership from 15 to 24, with six more permanent members - two from Asia, including Japan; two from Africa; and one each from Europe and Latin America. …