New York, Sept. 22 (Nippon News Network): India and three other countries - Brazil, Germany and Japan - on Tuesday pledged to back each other as they launched a joint bid for permanent seats on the 15-member United Nations Security Council.
"The Security Council must reflect the realities of the international community in the 21st Century," their joint statement here said. The four nations vowed to back each other's case and said similar status should be given to an African nation.
The joint statement was issued after talks between Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York.
The statement noted that there has been a nearly four-fold increase in the UN membership since it was founded after World War II in 1945, including a sharp increase in the number of developing countries. "The Security Council, therefore, must be expanded in both the permanent and non-permanent categories, including developing and developed countries as new permanent members," the joint statement said. "It must be representative, legitimate and effective," it added. The joint statement also said Africa must also have a permanent seat, amid reports that African leaders are currently discussing which of their states should be put forward.
However, historic regional animosities are likely to complicate the joint bid. Supporters of India's membership point out that the country is the world-largest democracy where some 1.2 billion people live, while some of Brazil's backers say it can make a strong case to represent South America. "All four states regard themselves as natural candidates," Fischer said after the talks.
Japan pays more money into the UN coffers than any nation except the US. Germany is the third-biggest contributor.
In a speech to the UN General Assembly, the Brazilian leader, known as Lula, said the Council's composition must reflect today's reality, rather than perpetuate the post-WWII era. In another speech, Koizumi said Japan's reconstruction role in Iraq and Afghanistan, and its efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, entitled it to a permanent seat on the Council.
It is worth mentioning here that Pakistan has made it clear it will oppose India’s bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations Munir Akram told a group of visiting Pakistani journalists here on Saturday last said Islamabad would strongly oppose increasing the number of permanent members of UN Security Council on grounds that it negates the principle of equality. Pakistan would do everything possible to thwart Indian endeavours in this regard, he added. He said besides India, Germany, Japan, Brazil and South Africa would lobby to secure a permanent berth in the Security Council during the coming 59th session of UN General Assembly. He further said Pakistan would prefer supporting Germany and Japan than India, if required.
The Council's five veto-wielding permanent members are Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. The 10 other Council members are chosen for two-year terms by regional groups. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is known to favour an expansion of the Council, to enable it to command greater respect - especially in the developing world - and to make it more effective.
* PERMANENT MEMBERS WITH VETO POWER:
1) China 2) France 3) Russia 4) United Kingdom 5) United States
* 10 ELECTED MEMBERS FOR 2004 ARE:
1) Algeria - until end of 2005 2) Angola - until end of 2004 3) Benin - until end of 2005 4) Brazil - until end of 2005 5) Chile - until end of 2004 6) Germany - until end of 2004 7) Pakistan - until end of 2004 8) Philippines - until end of 2005 9) Romania - until end of 2005 10) Spain - until end of 2004.