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UNSC: Jakarta or Male? Delhi in a dilemma over UNSC seat nominee | India News

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NEW DELHI: As PM Narendra Modi landed in Jakarta on Tuesday, Indonesia sought support from Indian authorities for its bid to become a non-permanent member of UN Security Council next month. Modi left for his three-nation tour of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore saying in his departure statement that his visit will give another boost to India’s Act East Policy.

Indonesia will seek a commitment from Modi for India’s support to its candidature and the success of his visit could well hinge on India’s response, diplomatic sources said. President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo and the Indonesian foreign ministry have turned the campaign for non-permanent membership of the UNSC into Indonesia’s top foreign policy priority.

It won’t be an easy choice for India as Indonesia is locked in a direct fight with the Maldives for the UNSC Asia-Pacific seat. Despite having earlier committed support to Male, India is doing a serious rethink on its position ahead of the voting at the UN scheduled for next week.

For India, Maldives in the past few years has proved to be a soft underbelly in the Indian Ocean in the manner in which it has sought to undercut India’s authority by ramping up ties with China. “There had been ups and downs in the past, there are ups and downs now. But ties with Maldives are not broken and cannot be broken,” foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had said on Monday.

What is also playing on India’s mind is all Asean nations are backing Indonesia. The UNSC vote also comes at a time Modi himself is looking to convince Asean about how indispensable south-east Asia is to India’s foreign policy. As the largest Asean nation, Indonesia can facilitate India’s Act East Policy.

Updated: May 29, 2018 — 8:41 pm

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