Posts Tagged ‘United Nations Security Council’

And then there were five! With the arrival of Dmitry Medvedev in New Delhi for a two-day visit on 21st December, India has completed an impressive quintet. Russia’s president is the fifth and the final leader from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to visit India in the past six months, following a path that has led to multi-billion dollar business deals and polished India’s sense of its rising global importance.

Russia was India’s military supplier of choice during the Cold War. Russian equipment accounts for 70% of all of India’s military hardware today. Imparting a new impetus to their ‘special and privileged’ ties, India and Russia inked 30 pacts in several key areas such as civil nuclear cooperation and defense, including development of Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) to expand country’s military capabilities.

The President arrived at New Delhi on early morning of the 21st and signed 11 agreements on that very day, including a deal through which ONGC, India’s state-owned energy company, will cooperate with Russia’s AFK Sistema in hydrocarbon development. Apart from this, 19 agreements, including those between private companies of both the countries were inked on the margins of the summit.

Medvedev met the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a two-hour long annual summit meeting which encompassed a whole range of crucial bilateral, regional and global matters. They also discussed the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan which impacts on the security of both the countries. Besides deciding to enhance cooperation in crucial spheres of military, energy sector, science and technology, space research and pharmaceuticals, the two sides agreed to step up efforts to achieve the target of bilateral trade of USD 20 billion by 2015.
Medvedev met President Pratibha Patil at Rashtrapati Bhavan, and attended a banquet hosted in his honor. He also met Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Apart from the major agreements between the two countries, MoUs were signed for joint research and development in reactor technology and related fields for peaceful uses of atomic energy. MoUs for cooperation in the pharmaceutical sector, for combating irregular migration and one in the field of emergency management were also signed.
On the second day of his visit, Medvedev accompanied by a 50-member delegation visited the Taj Mahal in Agra, where he spent around ninety minutes watching the 17th century historical monument. He also visited IIT Powai, where he interacted with the students at the institution’s newly constructed convention centre. Medvedev also managed to meet the Bollywood actors and directors at Yashraj Studio.

“Our talks have been comprehensive and result-oriented. We have signed several important agreements covering a large number of sectors. This reflects our mutual desire to bring our cooperation in other areas at par with our traditionally strong cooperation in the defense and nuclear fields,” Manmohan Singh said at a joint press interaction with Medvedev. The leaders also discussed the construction of additional Russian designed nuclear reactors at Kudankulam, Tamil Nadu, where two units are ready to be commissioned. Recalling their Moscow declaration on International Terrorism of 2001, the two leaders agreed that there is no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism.

On his part, Medvedev said Russia supports India as a “deserving and strong candidate” for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council as and when a decision for its expansion is taken. During the talks, Medvedev also extended an invitation to Singh to visit Russia next year which was accepted by the Prime Minister.

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It was a matter of sheer joy and pride for India as it received a record 187 votes to bag a non-permanent seat in the Security Council, highest in the past five years. UNSC – United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.

India, which is a founding member of the UN, is returning to the Security Council after a gap of 19 years. It has been on the Council six times before; having last served in 1992. Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s envoy to the UN, described this as a ‘ringing endorsement.’ Out of the 190 countries that voted, India received 187 votes. While one member state abstained from the vote, three votes were polled against India.

Other countries to be elected as the non-permanent members are South Africa, Colombia, Germany and Portugal. The five new countries will be replacing Austria, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Uganda. Council seats are divided on a regional basis. This year, the seats for Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean were uncontested and India, South Africa and Colombia had no trouble mustering the two-thirds majority support of the voting members. The only suspense came in the group known as Western Europe and Others, which had Germany, Canada and Portugal competing for two seats. Canada had to withdraw after the second round as it had received the least number of votes and Portugal appeared poised to defeat Ottawa’s bid.

After the vote, India made it clear that it would be pushing for change in the next two years as it serves out its term as a non-permanent member and is looking forward to permanent membership. Talking about what India can give to the council, Puri reportedly said, “We bring the voice of one-sixth of humanity. We have 63 years of experience in nation building, and I think that is what the UN can use. We have experience in peacekeeping. We would like to transcend that into peace building.”

The composition of the Security Council for its 2011 term is one of the strongest. The new members join Brazil, Nigeria, Lebanon, Gabon and Bosnia-Herzegovina among the 10 non-permanent members. The five permanent veto-wielding members of the council are Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. The five new council members will start a two-year term on January first. They will participate in decisions ranging from deploying UN peacekeepers to imposing sanctions, as the council monitors international peace and security.

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