New to Security Council, India looks west to ‘troubled neighborhood’

Published on October 13, 2010   ·   No Comments

By Harmeet Shah Singh

New Delhi, India (CNN) — India called the the “troubled neighborhood” on its west a priority area after the South Asian nation won a nonpermanent slot in the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday.

“We live in a troubled neighborhood. Our immediate priorities in the council will include peace and stability in our near and extended neighborhood, including Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa, counter-terrorism, including the prevention of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to nonstate actors, and the strengthening U.N. peacekeeping,” India’s external affairs minister, S.M. Krishna, told reporters in New Delhi.

India suspended its fragile peace process with its chief rival, Pakistan, after a militant attack on Mumbai in 2008 left 164 people dead. The Mumbai siege has been blamed on terror groups in Pakistan.

Under U.S. pressure, the neighboring nations resumed talks this year in a bid to restart a full-fledged dialogue.

India is also involved in redevelopment of war-ravaged Afghanistan.

Krishna also sought to portray Tuesday’s election as emblematic of his country’s global clout.

“This resounding endorsement of India’s candidature at the United Nations serves as a reaffirmation, if any were needed, of the overwhelming support that India enjoys in the international community,” he said. “On behalf of the government of India, I extend my sincere thanks to the overwhelming number of the U.N. member states who have supported us.”

India, Krishna said, would take over the Asian seat in the Security Council that is to be vacated by Japan at the end of the year.

India will re-enter the Security Council after an absence of nearly two decades, Krishna noted. He pointed to the nation’s rise as an economic powerhouse over the period.

“There have been significant changes in the international scene since India last served on the Security Council,” he said. “India has been integral to some of the important processes that induced these changes in the context of the financial and economic architecture, major shifts at the world trade and climate change negotiations as well as the recalibration of the global regime for civilian nuclear cooperation.”

Krishna vowed what he called would be his country’s constructive role in council affairs.

“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,” he said.

Krishna said he hopes India’s new assignment would be an opportunity to prove its worth as a fit candidate for permanent membership of the Security Council, a status for which it has been lobbying for years.

“I have absolutely no doubt that we will utilize our tenure to provide a sense of satisfaction to all our partners and obtain their reaffirmation of the need for a permanent presence for India on the security council,” he said.

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