Warm words for India
DELHI: "A shining example to the world of our shared faith in free institutions, free markets and free societies".
Thus Gordon Brown has praised India in a speech which recognises this country's growing economic and political power and backs India's call for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
What is less clear is how or when this would happen or what precisely it would mean. There are four countries well placed to get seats at an expanded international top table - Brazil, Germany and Japan as well as India.
Each faces opposition eg China fears Japanese membership whilst some European countries want an EU seat not one for a third EU member state.
Team Brown hints that it might back membership for India before the other three but cannot answer questions about whether she would have the same status and veto powers as the other permanent UN members (ie UK, China, France, Russia and USA) or whether she would be the first member of a second tier (which her politicians may well regard as second rate).
Today's speech also spells out in more detail the Brown vision of a new world order in which :
* an expanded UN would have a rapid reaction force to ensure rapid reconstruction once conflicts end and combine traditional peacekeeping with stabilisation, recovery and development.
* a reformed World Bank would fund low carbon economic development.
* a reformed IMF would promote greater transparency and monitoring in order to defend economic stability from shocks like last summer's credit crunch.
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