Momentum building up for UNSC reform: Rao

Washington: Appreciating President Barack Obama for his support for its quest for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, India Wednesday said the US support has come at a time when momentum is building up for the expansion of this most powerful wing of the world body.

"We deeply appreciate the fact that President Obama made that declaration of support for India`s candidature as a Permanent Member of the Security Council and subsequently to that we have had some useful discussion with the State Department," Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters at a news conference here.

Rao is here to prepare for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton`s visit to New Delhi in April.

"The US support has come at a very opportune time as this campaign (of UN Security Council reform) has been gathering momentum," she said.

The Indian Ambassador to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri was recently in Washington and had discussions with the State Department on this issue.

"The subject of UN reform and the US support for it is obviously important because the US as a permanent member of the Security Council has made its position known on the expansion of the Security Council and on the inclusion of the countries like India. It has also supported the candidature of Japan as a permanent member," she said.

Brazil, Germany, India and Japan last week revived a bid for permanent seats on the Security Council, saying they hoped for concrete action this year.

"There is also a larger issue of building support on the floor of the General Assembly for expansion in both permanent and non-permanent categories of the Security Council and that is a campaign that is ongoing," Rao said.

"Last week our external affairs minister was at the UN for the meeting of the G-4 countries ? India, Japan, Brazil and Germany on the subject of UN Security Council reform and the stage has now been reached where we have a very large number of countries that have expressed themselves in favour of expansion of in both the permanent and non-permanent categories," Rao said.

India and the United States have also been discussing on a range of other issues at the UN and co-operation on UN and multilateral matters.

"There is a whole broad band of issues on which we co-operate in the UN," she said. "Today for instance we had discussion on the situation on Sudan, Ivory Coast, the issue of promoting development co-operation in continents like Africa so there are a number of issues that we are discussing within the UN itself," she said, adding that the two countries are having a joint working group on UN peacekeeping which is going to meet in Delhi next month.