United Nations: Ambassador Asoke Kumar Mukerji has taken charge as India's new Permanent Representative to the UN and presented his credentials to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who lauded India's role as a "long trusted partner" of the multilateral system.
    
Ban welcomed Mukerji's appointment and lauded India's key role at the UN as a long trusted partner of the multilateral system, a statement released by the Indian mission here said.
    
Mukerji reiterated India's strong commitment to the world body and assured the UN Chief of his full support in helping the UN achieve the five 'generational' opportunities the UN Secretary General had set out at the commencement of his second term.
    
Prior to his appointment in New York, Mukerji was Special Secretary (Political) in the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi looking after India's strategic and security policy consultations in its immediate and extended neighbourhood.
    
He is India's 20th Permanent Representative at the UN, succeeding Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri who demitted office in February.

India for expansion of UNSC

India has underlined the need for expansion of the UN Security Council saying that no change in its composition in decades is an "unnatural situation of stagnation" in a dynamic and rapidly changing international environment.
    
Mukerji said the last expansion of the Council that took place in 1963 which saw a "modest" change in membership from 11 to 15.
    
While 80 more countries have joined the United Nations since then, composition of its premier body UNSC, which is mandated to maintain international peace and security, has not undergone even the slightest change. "This is an unnatural situation of stagnation in a dynamic and rapidly changing international environment," Mukerjee said at the 9th Round of Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) on the question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council on Tuesday.
    
"Reform of institutions of global governance, including the UN Security Council, and ensuring that they reflect contemporary reality, has been a matter of foremost importance to my country," he said.
    
Mukerji described as "truly bizarre" that while nearly 80 percent of the work of the Security Council is focused on the continent of Africa, the 15-nation body has never had even one permanent member from any of the 53 states of the African continent.
    
Stressing that UNSC reforms are more compelling than ever before, Mukerji said it would be a matter of time when the body may "either have to willingly embrace change, or be made to accept change as a 'fait accompli'."

Mukerji said there is need for nations to move from words to action and not merely repeat old stated positions to achieving tangible progress. A 'concise working document' that would help kick start real negotiations is the need of the hour, he said. It is important to outline how the world body plans to proceed to initiate real negotiations on the substantive proposals on the table.
    
"We must avoid falling into long periods of 'stasis and inertia'...it is imperative that the IGN take place at a 'pace and frequency' that befits the subject matter it deliberates."
    
Noting that The L69 (a group of countries from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific) and the African group have converged, Mukerji said the constituency for reforms is increasing by the day.

(Agencies)

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