India urges comprehensive reform of UN Security Council (Lead)

November 19th, 2008 - 9:46 pm ICT by IANS  

United Nations, Nov 19 (IANS) Vying for a permanent member seat at the Security Council, India has called for a “comprehensive reform” of this powerful body of the United Nations and said it is opposed to any stop-gap or interim arrangement.”We remain convinced that the only remedy is a comprehensive reform of the Security Council, involving expansion in its permanent and non-permanent categories,” said member of parliament Vijay Bahuguna in his address Tuesday to a meeting of the General Assembly on Security Council reform.

The debate, in which as many as 35 countries participated, started with the General Assembly President, Miguel d’Escoto of Nicaragua, calling upon countries to hammer out their differences to make the Security Council more representative reflecting the realities of the present world.

“Peace and security cannot be maintained by a Security Council that is out of date and out of touch,” d’Escoto said in his speech, which was read out in his absence by the Afghan Ambassador to the UN, Zahir Tanin, who is also the General Assembly vice-president.

Taking the floor on behalf of India, Bahuguna opposed the view of the so-called “United For Consensus” — which include Pakistan and Italy — that only non-permanent seats of the council be expanded.

“This is being unrealistic and has been proved wrong by history,” Bahuguna argued, referring to the 1965 expansion of the Security Council, wherein only non-permanent members were added.

Problems with the Council have only exacerbated, he said, adding electing non-permanent members has failed to ensure its accountability.

“Non-permanent members have not been able to implement their ideas, to prevent the encroachment of the Council in areas beyond its competence as per the UN Charter, to improve its decision-making process, to ensure full compliance with Articles 31 and 32 of the Charter, to enhance the participation of Troop Contributing Countries in decision making, or even to improve access and participation of non-members specially Small States. And this has not been for want of trying by many non-permanent members,” he said.

As such, Bahuguna said attempts to portray an “interim model” as a solution are inherently flawed. “Such a model will simply add to numbers without addressing the issues, and in effect would be the worst of both worlds,” he said.

India, which is part of G-4 grouping including Japan, Germany and Brazil has proposed to increase the strength of the Security Council from 15 to 25 by adding six permanent and four non-permanent seats.

“It is self-evident that real change and improvement can come only through inducting new permanent members through the principles of election and subsequent accountability to the wider membership through an appropriate review mechanism,” Bahuguna argued, as other nations too came up in support of G-4.

France in particular, among the current five Permanent Members of the Security Council, came out in open support of the G-4 proposals, by saying that India, Germany, Japan and Brazil deserve permanent membership with two seats from Africa.

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