Brown backs UNSC seat for ‘global power’ India

By Dipankar De Sarkar, IANS

London : Acknowledging India as a global power with legitimate aspirations, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in his maiden foreign policy speech has strongly backed News Delhi’s claim for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council.

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“Global flows of capital and global sourcing of goods and services have brought the biggest shift of economic power since the industrial revolution — the rapid emergence of India and China as global powers with legitimate global aspirations. The new frontier is that there is no frontier,” Brown said Monday in his Mansion House speech.

The speech is delivered annually at a banquet thrown by the Lord Mayor of London where the British leader lays out his foreign policy priorities.

Monday’s speech was keenly anticipated after foreign policy experts said Brown had sought to distance himself from the United States, unlike his predecessor Tony Blair, who was the US’s closest ally in Europe.

But Brown not only dispelled the notion of anti-Americanism, he also championed the cause of India at the UN high table.

“Long term, but now also interim, options must be examined to reform a UN Security Council whose permanent members do not include Japan, India, Brazil, Germany, or any African country — to make the Council more representative, more credible and more effective.

“The G8 has to increasingly broaden to encompass the influential emerging economies now outside but that account for more than a third of the world’s economic output.

“And we need a new coalition of democracies and civic societies joining together as allies for progress, with leaders in politics, economics and civil society all pushing forward reform,” the new British leader felt.

Brown said existing international institutions, built for just 50 sheltered economies in what became a bipolar world, were not fit for “an interdependent world of 200 states where global flows of commerce, people and ideas defy borders”.

In his speech, Brown proposed an “internationally-agreed access to an enrichment bond or nuclear fuel bank to help non-nuclear states acquire the new sources of energy they need”.

But this offer should be made only as long as these countries renounce nuclear weapons and meet internationally enforced non-proliferation standards, he added.

Describing his foreign policy approach as “heard-headed internationalism”, the British leader answered his critics by declaring himself as a “life-long admirer of America”.

“I have no truck with anti-Americanism in Britain or elsewhere in Europe and I believe that our ties with America — founded on values we share — constitute our most important bilateral relationship. And it is good for Britain, for Europe and for the wider world that today France and Germany and the European Union are building stronger relationships with America.”

Notwithstanding “the huge shifts in economic influence underway”, Brown said Europe and America have the best chance for many decades to achieve historic progress by helping bring in all continents, including countries today outside the G8 and the UN Security Council, to give “new purpose and direction” to international institutions.

The British premier criticised the state of emergency imposed by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

“…Together we call on President Musharraf to restore the constitution and implement the necessary conditions to guarantee free and fair elections on schedule in January; release all political prisoners, including members of the judiciary and human rights activists; to pursue energetically reconciliation with the political opposition; honour his commitment to step down as Chief of Army Staff; and relax restrictions on the media,” he said.