Pitching for UN reforms, India seeks expansion of member nations

RSTV Bureau
India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Akbaruddin with  Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar

India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Akbaruddin with
Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar

India has extended its support to US President Donald Trump’s efforts to reform the global body United Nations, saying it should include the expansion of the permanent and non-permanent members to keep pace with the changed times.

Trump, during a discussion on UN reform on Monday, insisted that he had always seen the “great potential” of the organisation but warned that “bureaucracy” was stopping it from realising its potential.

Trump, once a harsh critic of the UN, called for reforms in the body – a view India has been expressing for a long time.

“We have said that the world body should be reformed to keep pace with the changed times including the expansion of its permanent or non-permanent members,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters at a news conference here.

“We have consistently maintained the same line,” he said.

Kumar was referring to the high-level meeting on UN reform which was chaired by Trump. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also attended the meeting.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters that Trump supports the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ reform agenda for the UN, and was pleased to join nearly 130 countries to support a big, bold reform to eliminate inefficiency.

In his address, Guterres said, “We are reforming our peace and security architecture to ensure we are stronger in prevention, more agile in mediation, and more effective and cost-effective in peacekeeping operations.

“We are reforming our development system to become much more field-focused, well-coordinated and accountable to better assist countries through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development our contribution to a fair globalisation,” he added.

“We need to bring decision-making closer to the people we serve; trust and empower managers; reform cumbersome and costly budgetary procedures; and eliminate duplicative structures,” he added.

Describing it as a great day, the US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said this is the beginning of a process.

“There are 193 members of the United Nations. That means there are about 70 Member States out there that have not yet signed the declaration of support for United Nations reform. Our mission leaving here today is to not be satisfied with less than a complete consensus on this reform agenda.

“We are always stronger when we speak with one voice, and the future of this institution is worth the extra mile,” Haley said in her address.

(With inputs from PTI)