Foreign minister meets Indian premier, supports Indian permanent UNSC seat

Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (back row, third from right) at the Raisina Dialogue conference in New Delhi, India. Indian premier Narendra Modi is front, center.
Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (back row, third from right) at the Raisina Dialogue conference in New Delhi, India. Indian premier Narendra Modi is front, center. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) met with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi while attending the Raisina Dialogue conference in New Delhi, and also called for a permanent UN Security Council (UNSC) seat for that country, the second-most populous in the world.

During his speech at the Raisina Dialogue, a high-level geo-political conference analogous to Estonia's own Lennart Meri Conference, Reinsalu called for UN reforms, as well as saying the conference host country merited a permanent UNSC seat.

Reinsalu said that Estonia is looking forward to working closely with India on global security issues if the country is elected to the UNSC on a non-permanent basis, for 2021-2022, a goal which it is vying for.

"The future of the Council is a broader issue," Reinsalu said, according to a foreign ministry press release.

"To defend the rules-based world order, the UNSC needs to be open and inclusive," he added

Reinsalu implied that India and other countries attaining permanent UNSC status need not be at any other country's expense, stating that the number of permanent seats – currently five – should be increased.

The foreign minister based his statements by saying the world has changed a great deal since the UNSC was created in 1945.

"A number of countries – including India, Germany, Japan and Brazil – deserve a permanent seat," he said.

The current permanent members are China, France, the U.S., the U.K. and, as successor state to the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation.

While meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (BJP), Reinsalu discussed ideas for bringing talented young Estonians and Indians together via hackathons, following a proposal Modi made to do just that.

Reinsalu says that Estonia is willing to pursue the idea: "It's an initiative that would take cooperation between Estonia and India to the next level and give us a chance to search out completely new digital solutions among the ambitious concepts young people come up with," he said.

"We're grateful to Prime Minister Modi for proposing the idea, and we'll now set about taking specific steps to move forward with it."

The pair also discussed other bilateral cooperation at the talks which took place as part of a joint meeting of foreign dignitaries with the Indian premier.

Reinsalu arrived in New Delhi Wednesday morning, and leaves Thursday evening. On Wednesday he discussed digital and cyber-related cooperation at greater length with his Indian opposite number, Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

In his keynote address, Reinsalu also outlined Estonia's principles for its two-year UNSC term, which it won in June last year and which commenced at the start of this year.

"Small countries have an important, moral voice on the UNSC," he remarked.

"It is small countries that can play a key role as mediators when standing up, unwavering, for international law."

Reinsalu also took part in a live discussion with Indian journalist Manu Pubby, Senior Editor of The Economic Times.

While Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov also attended the conference, arriving and leaving a day earlier than Reinsalu, the Estonian foreign ministry said that a meeting between the two would not be taking place, at least at Estonia's request, due to a full schedule.

Reinsalu also met  the Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and took part in several sideline meetings with opposite numbers and representatives from the Maldives, South Africa and Uzbekistan, as well as the national security adviser of Afghanistan.

The Raisina Dialogue is an annual conference in India which focuses on major international issues. It is organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and the Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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