Four out of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) have bilaterally expressed official affirmations of support for India’s candidature to a permanent seat in an expanded UNSC, said the Centre on Monday. In reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said India has accorded the “highest priority” to getting permanent membership in an expanded UN Security Council (UNSC).
“Four out of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council have bilaterally expressed official affirmations of support for India’s candidature to a permanent seat in an expanded UNSC,” he said. Muraleedharan, however, did not name the countries.
“In the joint statement issued on the occasion of the visit of the Indian Prime Minister to China in May 2015, it is stated that ‘China attaches great importance to India’s status in international affairs as a large developing country, and understands and supports India’s aspiration to play a greater role in the UN including in the Security Council,” he said.
At present, the UNSC comprises five permanent members and 10 non-permanent member countries which are elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly of the UN. The five permanent members are Russia, the UK, China, France and the United States and these countries can veto any substantive resolution. There has been growing demand to increase the number of permanent members to reflect the contemporary global reality.
India, Brazil, South Africa, Germany and Japan are strong contenders for permanent membership of the UNSC which has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. The process of UNSC reforms is being presently discussed under the intergovernmental negotiation framework of the UN General Assembly.
Last week, the grouping of India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) expressed “frustration” over the “slow” pace of progress on reform of the UN Security Council and said the time has come to move towards a result-oriented process to expand the key global body.
Replying to a separate question on the Chabahar port, Muraleedharan said it has handled over 53,000 tons of India’s wheat bound for Afghanistan since the beginning of the current fiscal.
“The Indian company, India Ports Global Limited, has taken over port operations in December 2018 and has since handled 12 lakh tons of bulk cargo and about 8200 containers,” he said. “In the recent past, there has been a rise in transit cargo for Afghanistan through Chabahar. India’s assistance of 75,000 tons of wheat to Afghanistan, of which eight consignments have already been shipped, is being supplied via Chabahar,” he added.
The Chabahar port is located on the Indian Ocean in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan province. It is being jointly developed by India, Iran and Afghanistan and is considered a gateway to opportunities for trade by the three countries with central Asian nations.
On the Chabahar-Zahedan railway project, the minister said the two sides remain engaged on it. “India and Iran continue to cooperate on developmental projects in Iran, including the Chabahar-Zahedan railway line,” Muraleedharan said.