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53 countries from Asia, including Pakistan, endorse India’s candidature for non-permanent seat on UN Securi ty Council

NEW DELHI, February 21: With long-time opponent Pakistan finally joining 52 other countries from the Asia region in endorsing India’s candidature for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), this country’s victory is near certain.

An official statement from India’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York said that the 53-member Asian bloc endorsed India’s candidature at its monthly meeting last Friday.

Nineteen countries, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka and all of India’s immediate neighbours "spoke in favour of the proposal to endorse New Delhi’s candidature for the two-year term in the Security Council starting January 1, 2011," the statement added.

Those who did not speak include China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

If India secures the seat representing Asia on the UNSC, it will be occupying the place being vacated by Japan on December 31. India returns to the UNSC as a non-permanent member after a gap of 19 years. Lebanon is the other non-permanent member representing Asia.

The UNSC comprises five permanent members with veto powers (USA, UK, China, Russia and France), and ten non-permanent members (two from each of the five continents).

The non-permanent members serve a two-year term and retire, making room for other nations from their respective continents to get elected with a two-thirds majority in the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in mid-October this year.

After Kazakhstan’s recent withdrawal from the race, India is currently running for the seat unopposed. However, even if India goes to the election without an opponent from Asia, it will still need to secure two-thirds of the votes.

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri says he is personally optimistic about India getting the backing of 128 countries out of the 192 UN member-member states comprising the electoral college.

He says it is unlikely that another Asian country will enter the contest at such a late stage. "We still have to win the election. We have to get the required number of votes which, I think, is doable," he adds.

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