G-4 summit: India to push for broader support on UNSC reforms

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NEW YORK: In a strong bid for a permanent seat in an expanded Security Council, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to host the G-4 summit on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session. This summit is expected to bring the heads of four countries together. The agenda of the summit would be to focus on winning broad-based support for expansion of permanent and non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council. The UN is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

The G-4 includes India, Germany, Japan and Brazil that are all aspiring to become permanent members of an expanded UN Security Council. Among the four countries, India is the only country that has managed to garner support of four permanent members in the UNSC except China for permanent membership. While China says it looks forward to see India play a bigger role in the UN, it hasn’t categorically supported India’s permanent membership. While Russia had earlier endorsed India, there were news reports in India of Russia and China planning to scuttle India’s permanent membership. Ahead of the commencement of the 70th session of UNGA on September 14, the member countries had approved, by consensus, to have text-based negotiations on reforming the Security Council.

The G-4 summit will bring together Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apart from Mr Modi. “They will meet to calibrate their position with the other groups of countries that want an expansion of both the permanent and non-permanent seats of the Security Council,” said Ambassador Asoke Kumar Mukerji, India’s permanent representative to the United Nations. Mr Mukerji described it as a ‘significant’ meeting.

India sought Ireland’s support for a permanent membership during Mr Modi’s visit to Ireland before arriving in the US. Bangladesh has also reiterated its support to India. US endorsed India’s membership and reiterated its support in a joint statement of the India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue held on September 22. Seventeen countries including the Uniting for Consensus (UFC) states, Russia, China and the US did not provide any inputs to the text, although they did not oppose the adoption of the text.

When questioned about the duration it would take for India to be firmly placed on the Security Council, Mr Mukerji responded saying, “I would assume that negotiations, which begins in the early part of the 70th Session of the General Assembly, should conclude as our Prime Minister has called for, with a concrete outcome on the reform of the Security Council at the end of the 70th session of the General Assembly, which is on the 14th of September 2016.”

For such a resolution to be adopted by the G-4, a two-third vote is required in the General Assembly. With 122 nations already giving the details of their stand on the issue, the G-4 believes that the vote can be carried.

The negotiations for reforming the Security Council begin in November. The G-4 summit is expected to send out a strong message to the permanent members that the four nations are working on achieving broad-based support for the outcome.

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