British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson recently hinted that London would support India’s quest for permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

Delivering a speech on foreign policy at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London earlier this month, Johnson said that India’s inclusion in the UNSC was necessary for a more “realistic re-alignment of the world order”. The important member of Theresa May Cabinet also said that Britain, after leaving the European Union (EU), wanted to engage deeply with Asia and it considers India as the most important Asian partner.

Johnson told the audience: “We should be realistic enough to accept that the international order needs to change. That is why Britain supports enlarging the permanent membership of the UNSC to other global powers, including India.” He stressed: “It is right that we should make a distinctive approach to policy-making as regards China and East Asia. Our approach in that region must go beyond the quest for exports and commercial contracts, vital though they are.”

The foreign secretary stressed upon the importance of understanding the balance of power system in Asia, saying that a rules-based system could reduce the risk of miscalculation and unwanted confrontation in the world. Johnson further said that India, as a trillion dollar economy and a major South Asian power, rightly sought a permanent place in the UNSC.

Meanwhile, India has welcomed Britain’s decision to back its bid for a permanent UNSC membership, with the Ministry of External Affairs saying in a statement that Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the issue with his British counterpart May during her recent visit to the South Asian country. During their meeting, PM May assured Modi that Britain would try hard to help India become a permanent UNSC member.

After becoming prime minister in July, PM May made clear that Britain was ready to strengthen ties with India in post-Brexit scenario. According to the British premier, strong ties with India will serve the British economy well and India can help Britain overcome the crisis it faced after leaving the EU. Interestingly, India’s economy has surpassed that of Britain for the first time in nearly 150 years. In a report published on December 18, Forbes magazine said: “Once expected to overtake the UK GDP in 2020, the surpass has been accelerated by the nearly 20% decline in the value of the pound over the last 12 months, consequently the UK’s 2016 GDP of GBP 1.87 trillion converts to USD 2.29 trillion at exchange rate of GBP 0.81 per USD 1, whereas India’s GDP of INR 153 trillion converts to USD 2.30 trillion at exchange rate of INR 66.6 per USD 1.”

Koushik Das, based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, is a senior news editor with more than 15 years of experience. He also runs a blog - Boundless Ocean of Politics. E-Mail: [email protected]

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