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U.N. seat: India woos Pakistan too

Thursday 23 June 2005

"Response was quite diplomatic; Pakistanis said they had nothing against India"

France opts to co-sponsor resolution unlike Russia and Britain Response from Sri Lanka awaited `India has nothing to lose in the battle’

NEW DELHI: Pakistan will no longer be left out of New Delhi’s diplomatic tango to secure the support of all 191-member nations of the United Nations. Given the state of play that existed till April 2003 between the two neighbours, such an approach would have been unthinkable some months ago.

The ``untouchable’’ nature is for real. In many senses, Pakistan still does not exist for India. For instance, the External Affairs Ministry website, which provides a brief for bilateral relations with most countries round the globe, has a missing entry in alphabet ``P.’’ The ``P,’’ needless to say, stands for Pakistan.

The times, it would appear, are now changing. Officials dealing with India’s efforts at getting the G-4 resolution tabled and passed in the United Nations General Assembly told The Hindu that New Delhi had actually approached Pakistan despite the fact that it was a leading member of the ``coffee club’’ in New York that opposes expansion in the permanent category.

And, what was Pakistan’s response to India’s approach?

It was quite ``diplomatic,’’ the officials said. ``The Pakistanis told us politely that they had nothing against India, but were opposed to any expansion in the permanent category in the Security Council.’’

Preparing for the battle

India is preparing for a long diplomatic battle in a bid to ensure the G-4 (which has Brazil, Germany and Japan as other members) resolution is actually tabled and then adopted by a two-thirds vote in the 191-member General Assembly.

From the larger South Asian region, India has been heartened by the fact that Afghanistan, the Maldives and Bhutan have agreed to co-sponsor the G-4 resolution. A formal response from Sri Lanka is awaited, the officials said.

The Russians, despite being solid India-backers like the British, have decided not to add their name to the list of co-sponsors of the resolution, which seeks an expansion of the Security Council by six in the permanent category and four in the non-permanent category.

France, another permanent member, has, of course, indicated that it will be one of the co-sponsors.

As Foreign Ministers of G-4 nations meet in Brussels to discuss future strategy, it is becoming clear that a long, hard battle lies ahead of them.

Already, the G-4 draft has forced the Americans to take a position that they favour limited expansion in both the permanent and non-permanent category.

See online : The Hindu

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