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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar reaffirmed that India is exerting pressure to become a permanent UNSC member.

He was speaking at an interaction with intellectuals in Shimla on Tuesday. “Regarding UNSC permanent membership, our aim is to get it as soon as possible. But, this target won’t be achieved that soon. Because the permanent members, still enjoy much clout. Whether it’s the Ukraine or Gaza, they make dealings among themselves on issues that affect the whole world. So, they won’t want that it (number of permanent members) becomes six, seven or eight,” Mr Jaishankar said addressing the event.

“So, if we have to come, we will have to make everyone aware, putting pressure and persuading them, only then will we achieve our target,” he added.

The EAM also recalled when India got the chance to become a permanent UNSC member but forgo the opportunity.

“50 years ago, we had the opportunity, but the then-government didn’t accept it. They didn’t think the matter is of that priority. But, today I think the situation is favourable for us…If you ask developed countries, they consider India as a very reliable partner,” Mr Jaishankar said.

He also pointed out that no elections are taking place at the United Nations regarding permanent members of the UN Security Council.

“Today we are having elections here, but they have blocked the elections in the UN. If the polls don’t happen, how will it be decided? Their intention is to keep it blocked, and our intention is to keep exerting pressure…Today, we are number one in terms of population, fifth in terms of economy and will become third,” he added.

He also praised the development by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in the last 10 years and said that India’s image has changed a lot in the last 10 years.

“10 years ago, a lot of things were said about us. And people like me who used to go to other countries as a duty had to listen to a lot. But today, it is said that this is an India where every day 30km of highways and 14 km of railway tracks are built, where 8 new airports and 2 new metro rails are built every year,” the EAM said.

He added, “Our image has improved because of the development on the ground. The transformation seen in the last 10 years is the base of the Viksit Bharat…10 years ago, income taxpayers were 3.5 crores. Today, there are more than 8 crores. In the last 10 years, there have been 6 crores more subscribers of Provident Fund…The number of colleges and universities has doubled in the last 10 years. A new IIT, IIM, and AIIMS came in Himachal Pradesh, and a hydro-engineering project also started here.”

Mr Jaishankar affirmed that if there is strong leadership and a sense of self-confidence, then India would definitely move in the direction of a developed nation.

“If there is good leadership, a majority government, the vision of Modi ji, and if there is a sense of self-confidence in the country, a sense of nationalism, then this country can definitely move in the direction of developed India,” Mr Jaishankar further said.