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’’Permanent seat for India in Security Council unlikely’’

Monday 10 January 2005, by BARUAH*Amit

NEW DELHI, JAN. 10. "I don’t think its going to happen," the former United States’ Ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill, said about India’s entry into the United Nations Security Council as a permanent member.

Mr. Blackwill, who recently joined a private Republican lobbying firm, put India’s non-entry in the context of fundamental Security Council reforms which, he said, were not going to take place. While conceding that the Security Council did not reflect today’s world, he said that there were other candidates, along with India, who would have to be made permanent members. The number of permanent members would then go up to about 14.

Mr. Blackwill said that the world wanted a Security Council that worked and such a large number would not serve the purpose.

Mr. Blackwill, who was dealing with Iraq till recently in the Bush administration, felt there were some in the U.S. Government who were not comfortable with India’s nuclear weapon status.

The Indian Government was doing everything in its power to curb nuclear proliferation and had dealt with some companies engaged in wrongdoing. There was a need for the non-proliferation "ayatollahs" to recognise that India’s nuclear weapons status did not pose a threat to the United States.

F-16s for Pakistan

On the American move to supply the F-16 aircraft to Pakistan, Mr. Blackwill said: "I wonder if the timing is right." He said the "C & D" versions of F-16 could be used to deliver nuclear weapons. He felt the sale of aircraft would erode India’s air superiority in the region.

Mr. Blackwill said that Pakistan had not conclusively ended terrorism against India and had to dismantle the terrorist camps on its soil. Once Pakistan made peace on a permanent basis with India, then Washington could sell F-16s to Islamabad as a "reward."

"Exit strategy" from Iraq

Asked about talks in Washington about an "exit strategy" from Iraq, Mr. Blackwill conceded that there was some talk, but said there was none inside the "Oval office". The U.S. President, George W. Bush, would carry on till the Iraq "mission" was accomplished.

A "mildly Islamist" Parliament, a Shia Prime Minister and a non-Shia President would be "elected" in the January 30 elections in Iraq, he felt.

On the controversy over business process outsourcing, Mr. Blackwill said this was a major challenge. "It can be managed, but it will remain a political issue." India needed to buy more goods from America to address this controversy.

See online : The Hindu

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