Saturday, April 16, 2011


 India is cranking up the pressure on China to come out in unequivocal support of its bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

The move comes about even as a friendly American lawmaker moved a Bill in the United States Congress to ask President Barack Obama to actively work towards helping New Delhi's ambition come to fruition.

"We believe that India is a deserving candidate for permanent membership of the Security Council," Indian foreign secretary Nirupama Rao told Chinese state television recently. "We would like to see greater understanding from China for India's case."

Last month, India began a two-year term on the Security Council as Asia's representative for the rotating seat, with the support of 187 of the 192 members of the world body. The broad support in some ways wiped out the humiliation of 1996, when India contested against Japan for the post, and lost badly.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and foreign minister S.M. Krishna are working for the current Security Council perch to be converted into a permanent one by the time India has to surrender the seat.

Towards that end, India is not only pushing its own case but also coordinating closely with Japan, Germany and Brazil for an expanded council.

Earlier this month, the G-4, as they are known, called for "earliest expansion" of the Security Council in both its permanent and non-permanent categories.

Also, US congressman Alcee Hastings introduced a bipartisan resolution in the House of Representatives voicing support for the Indian bid.

Thus far, China is the only permanent member of the Security Council that has not come out in clear terms to endorse India's aspirations. New Delhi has raised the issue at every high-powered meeting between the two nations.

China, responding to the G-4 statement, said that "forcing premature plans... (would) undermine the unity of UN member states" since there were sharp differences over major issues.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu has said Beijing stood for "extensive and democratic consultations" before moving on the issue, indicating that it is in no hurry.

Analysts said Chinese reluctance to voice firm support for the Indian bid stems from two reasons.

One is an obvious reluctance to share power and the spotlight with another Asian force. But beyond that, Beijing is also distrustful of the developing US-India alliance.

Last November, in a speech to the Indian Parliament, Obama endorsed India's aspirations to be included as a permanent member.

The US not only welcomes India as a rising global power, it fervently supports it, he said.

But, he said, with increased power came responsibilities, one of which was to advance human rights and preserve peace and security. India, he said, had sometimes shied away from these issues. The price of freedom is standing up for the freedom of others, Obama said.

Analysts noted that New Delhi has been quietly realigning some of its public postures to hew closer to the US line.

This week, for instance, it used unusually blunt language as it took on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's handling of the political crisis in his country.

"India deplores the use of force which is totally unacceptable and must not be resorted to," the Indian foreign ministry said late on Tuesday night. "It is earnestly hoped calm is restored at the earliest without any further violence."

That follows a comment from Dr Singh to television editors last week that "India welcomes the dawn of democracy anywhere in the world" although, he added, it will not seek to impose its views on others.
Rao said she is hopeful that when the moment arrives, China will not stand in India's way.

"I doubt very much if China would oppose that when it comes to that," she said in a speech in New York last week. "But, as of now, China is not expressing itself openly in favour of India's candidature."