M A I N   N E W S

Diplomatic blitzkrieg for UN seat
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 21
The Manmohan Singh government is unleashing a diplomatic blitzkrieg to enlist international support in India’s quest for a seat in the revamped and enlarged United Nations Security Council.

In pursuit of this objective, the government is despatching four special envoys — Mr V.K. Grover, Mr Chinmoy Ghare Khan, a former MP, Mr Syed Shahbuddin and Mr Ranjith Sethi — to various parts of the globe to champion New Delhi’s cause.

Minister of State for External Affairs Rao Inderjit Singh, whose brief encompasses the United Nations, Latin America and the adjoining Caribbean countries, Europe barring the UK, France and Germany and Africa, is leaving on Saturday for a week-long visit to Argentina and Chile.

Among the special envoys, Mr Grover is scheduled to leave very soon for Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Ethiopia to take up India’s cause for a seat in the Security Council. While Mr Ghare Khan will be going round West Asian and North African capitals, Mr Sethi has been tasked with convincing francophone Africa and Mr Shahbuddin has been enlisted to do his bit with Islamic countries.

Rao Inderjit Singh, who has already attended the conference of the Caribbean community in Suriname in February, told The Tribune that Foreign Ministers of this region had expressed their happiness in extending support to India in its bid for a seat in the Security Council.

Around the same time the minister was also in Honduras for the conference of the System of Central American Integration where too leaders underlined the need for restructuring the United Nations. It is a region where New Delhi has not interacted actively and is now endeavouring to do so in close concert with South Africa even as Brazil is wooing these countries.

“The exercise is aimed at ensuring that India’s interests are best met,” Rao Inderjit Singh emphasised.

It is no secret that Argentina and Mexico have certain reservations in endorsing India’s stand with regard to the Security Council seat. Rao Inderjit Singh’s visit to Argentina assumes significance in this context as also the upcoming trips of the four special envoys in the run-up to the Summit of the African Union scheduled to be held in Libya on July 3 and 4.

India has an adverse trade balance with both Argentina and Chile. With the economic graph of Argentina beginning to look up, Rao Inderjit Singh will hold talks with his Argentinian counterpart. Bilateral cooperation with Argentina in energy, agriculture and railways will be explored.

From Buenos Aires, Rao Inderjit Singh proceeds to Santiago for the third ministerial meeting of the Community of Democracies from April 28 to 30. As the largest democracy in the world, India will play its due role in promoting democratic forms of governance in the world through dialogue among practicising democracies.


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