File photo of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. (Press Trust of India)
India needs 129 votes in the UN to get Hindi included as one of the official languages in the world body, and the financial burden was not a problem, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Monday.
Addressing a press conference ahead of the Hindi World Conference being held next month in Bhopal, Sushma said: "The way India's global stature is growing... for the International Day of Yoga, we got 177 votes, our morale has gone up.
"And we are now trying for permanent membership in the UN Security Council. We feel after we get permanent membership, the work (of getting Hindi included in the UN) will become easier," she said.
"We are busy trying to get the 129 votes, the financial burden is not a question," she said.
The minister said India was willing to bear the financial burden if it works out.
Hindi is spoken by over half a billion people in the world.
Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh told the Rajya Sabha in May: "India is taking necessary measures for popularising the use of Hindi and its acceptance as an international language.
"A World Hindi Secretariat has been set up in Mauritius to promote Hindi as an international language. The 10th World Hindi Conference is being organised in Bhopal on September 10-12. The prime minister addressed the 69th UN General Assembly in Hindi, on September 27, 2014. Necessary arrangements were made for simultaneous interpretation of his statement into English."
He said the government's "sustained efforts have also ensured that the UN offers programmes on the UN Radio website in Hindi".
The government has continued its efforts towards securing due recognition to Hindi in the UN, and inclusion of Hindi as one of its official languages, he said.
In July 2014, he had told the Rajya Sabha that the total cost provisioned by the UN on providing services in all its six official languages was approximately $492 million for two years -- and services in one language cost $41 million per annum.
"This cost is for provision of overall services including documentation, translation, interpretation, verbatim reporting, printing etc. in all the four UN offices -- New York, Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi.
"In case of including Hindi as an official language, there would be additional cost for providing infrastructure/equipment and space for additional interpreters.
"Expenditure incurred towards introduction of a new official language is borne by member states based on the scale of assessment," he said.