India to take up UN reforms with Ban Thursday

October 29th, 2008 - 9:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiNew Delhi, Oct 29 (IANS) India will make a renewed pitch for an expansion of the Security Council and a seat on the high table on the global body when UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrives here on his first official visit to the country Thursday. Ban kicks off his two-day visit with a meeting with ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, which will be followed by delegation-level talks with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Ban, who began his diplomatic career in South Korea’s embassy in New Delhi and has visited India earlier as his country’s foreign minister, will call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pratibha Patil Thursday.

He will discuss with Indian leaders a wide range of regional and international issues, including the UN reforms, global financial crisis, food crisis, terrorism and the situation in Myanmar.

The UN peacekeeping operations, in which India plays a prominent part with a contribution of around 8,000 troops, will also figure in the discussions, official sources said.

Ban’s trip to Delhi is part of his three-nation tour that also takes him to Nepal and Bangladesh - his first official trip to the region.

India, which has been rooting for the much-needed UN reforms, will during Ban’s visit make a fresh pitch for the expansion of the UN Security Council, official sources said.

India is part of the G4 initiative, that also includes Brazil, Germany and Japan, for permanent Security Council seats for these four countries and one or two representative countries from Africa to make the global organisation more democratic and reflective of the 21st century realities of the world.

Manmohan Singh made a renewed pitch for the expansion of the UN Security Council during his speech at the UN General Assembly in New York last month and expressed disappointment over the slow progress in discussions in this crucial area.

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