India Wins Rotating UN Seat, Treads Cautiously on Pakistan, Iran

United Nations/New Delhi, Oct 13 (IANS): Winning a rotating non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council after a gap of 19 years, India Tuesday said it will be a responsible global player and the voice of the developing world, but treaded cautiously on tricky diplomatic issues like sanctions against Iran and terrorism originating from Pakistan.

"India will discharge its obligations as a responsible member of the international community by remaining fully and actively engaged on all issues before the Council," External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters in New Delhi, speaking minutes after the UN General Assembly elected India as a non-permanent member of the Security Council for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2011.

Asked whether this will strengthen India's case for a permanent seat in the Security Council, Krishna said: "It's a step forward in that direction."

"Membership of the UN Security Council, of course, entails higher responsibility. We will live up to that," Krishna, who was flanked by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and and Additional Secretary (International Organisations) Dilip Sinha, said.

"India will also not only bring ability but add to the legitimacy of the Security Council and be pro-active on tackling the scourge of terrorism and strengthening the UN's peacekeeping and peace-building efforts," he said.

"We will demonstrate to the international community that India on the Security Council is good for the world," Krishna stressed.

India received 187 votes, the highest among the candidates for election to the Security Council as non-permanent members. Only three countries did not vote for India out of 190 members in the 192-strong UN General Assembly who participated in the elections.

This represents over 98 per cent of the total membership of the UN and is well ahead of the required 128 votes. With Kazakhstan withdrawing from the race in January, India became the sole candidate from the Asian region and its election to the non-permanent seat had become a near certainty.

India last held a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council in 1991-1992.

This will be India's seventh term on the Security Council as a non-permanent member. India has previously been a member of the Security Council in 1950-51, 1967-68, 1972-73, 1977-78, 1984-85, and 1991-92.

"India will also continue to work with like-minded countries and groups for bringing about much needed structural reform to the UN Security Council," he added.

Outlining India's agenda as a responsible rotating member of the UNSC, Krishna said: "India's traditional wisdom and desire to contribute to international peace and amity will result in our being the voice of moderation and constructive engagement in the decisions of the Security Council."

Alluding to "a troubled neighbourhood," Krishna said India's immediate priorities in the Council will include peace and stability in our near and extended neighbourhood, including Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa.

Other key priorities, he stressed, will include counter-terrorism, including the prevention of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to non-state actors, and the strengthening of UN peacekeeping.

Krishna attributed India's winning a non-permanent seat to the "overwhelming support" it enjoyed in the global arena, adding that it was a "step forward" towards a permanent seat. He thanked the global community on the country's behalf for their overwhelming support.

He stressed that this "resounding endorsement of India's candidature at the UN "serves as a reaffirmation, if any were needed, of the overwhelming support that India enjoys in the international community".

Krishna said the victory was indicative of India's major role on the world stage in areas like combating terrorism and climate change.

Conjuring a picture of restraint and balance, Krishna said India will handle all issues with objectivity when he was asked questions about terrorism originating from Pakistan or sanctions against the Iranian nuclear programme.

"We would like cordial relations with Pakistan. We have made every effort to be good neighbours with Pakistan," Krishna replied when asked whether India will proactively place issues relating to terrorism originating from Pakistan on the agenda of the Security Council.

Krishna added that he was looking forward to the visit of his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi to India and hoped that their talks will "enlarge areas of cooperation and reduce areas of differences."

Krishna also made it clear that India will take a constructive view when issues relating to the Iranian nuclear programme come up before the UN Security Council and reiterated New Delhi's opposition to sanctions. "We believe all questions between nations can be resolved through mutual discussions. India will continue to work in this direction," he said.



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Title: India Wins Rotating UN Seat, Treads Cautiously on Pakistan, Iran

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