After years of diplomatic maneuvering, India was elected with a hands-down majority on Tuesday as the Asian regional representative to the 15-member UN Security Council, joining Brazil and South Africa in a bloc of emerging economic powers.India secured 187 votes on Tuesday in the 192-member UN General Assembly in a move seen as a key step towards a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and recognition of India’s status as a growing world power.
At the time of going to press it was unclear whether Pakistan and China had voted against India along with three other countries.
After a gap of 18 years, India stood unopposed for the Asia seat as the only other contestant in this category, Kazakhstan, withdrew from the race in December last year. India just needed to clinch two-thirds of the General Assembly vote on Tuesday, that’s 128 votes.
But the thumping majority underlines growing support for India’s bid for a permanent seat when serious negotiations begin for expanding the Security Council next year.
Reform is on India’s agenda, and Germany, Japan, India and Brazil have discussed launching a reform campaign at the UN. The so-called G-4 group has been calling for the addition of six permanent seats to the Council without the power of veto, and a further four non-permanent seats.
“Today’s Security Council reflects the world’s power architecture after World War II. It should reflect the power structure of today’s world. We feel Asia is under-representated,” German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle said in New York after Germany won the election to one of two non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council assigned to Western nations. Canada and Portugal were forced to go into a run-off for the other seat.
India will take over from Japan for the Asian region for two years, while Colombia takes Mexico’s seat for Latin America and South Africa takes the place of Uganda for Africa.
India’s elevation to the UN high table on Tuesday has the attention of Western powers as it means that three emerging economies — India, Brazil and South Africa — will occupy seats on the Council at the same time. US foreign policy analysts said Washington was worried about the bloc of emerging economic powers resisting US pressure on various Iran sanctions proposals.
All four of the ‘BRIC’ countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – will sit together on the Council for the first time to reflect the shift of power in the post-recession world.
Hardeep Singh Puri, permanent representative of India to the UN, in New York added; “We hope that if things work out, all of us will utilise our time on the Council to work and achieve an early expansion in permanent membership.” India also wants the Obama administration to squarely support India’s quest for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.