France backs Indiaآ’s demand for seat on Security Council

Vol 3, PW 18 (29 Sep 99) People & Policy

French companies operating in India can expect to benefit from a statement by the countrys foreign minister supporting Indias claim for a permanent seat on the United Nations security council.

On Thursday (23rd September) French foreign minister Hubert Vedrine met his Indian counterpart Jaswant Singh on the sidelines of a UN General Assembly meeting in New York. Talks between the two men focused on expansion of the Security Council from its present number of five permanent members: United States; Russia; China; France and the United Kingdom.

"Every region must put forward its own candidates for this process of expansion", said a French source at the meeting, "It appears natural that India is among them". Among western powers, France is the only country to support Indias demand for a permanent seat.

The French stance will be appreciated in Delhi. The United States, by contrast, is slowly coming to terms with the fact that US companies with interests in India are suffering because of sanctions imposed by Washington.

This month a report from the US International Trade Commission (USITC) - submitted to the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee - noted that American exports of industrial machinery, transportation, construction equipment, electronic products and infrastructure development services to India had plummeted because of sanctions. The report said: "The major alternative suppliers benefiting from reduced US exports to India (and Pakistan) are Japan, Europe, the rest of Asia, Australia, New Zealand and other South Pacific trading partners".

The report adds: "The Commission received several reports that sanctions have contributed to the perception of US companies as unreliable international suppliers".