New Delhi: It's a crucial day for India in its lengthy battle for a spot on the United Nations Security Council, and China could hold the key.
The nearly 200 member countries of the United Nations are meant to meet tonight to consider how to word the document that would call for reforming the Security Council. The top decision-making body currently has 15 members of which five, including China, Russia and the US, are permanent.
For the first time, different countries have submitted written suggestions for what the resolution should state. In what's seen as an attempt to thwart India's bid, the US, China and Russia have not participated in that exercise. Tonight, the UN will consider whether to formally extend the negotiations over the document for another year.
But China has been strongly opposing the expansion of the Security Council, and if it insists on a vote, India will have to get other countries on board to support the extended negotiations.
Indian officials hope the resolution calling for more discussions is adopted with consensus, but a vote would complicate things. Many countries don't want to be seen taking sides between India and China, and may simply abstain. While the US and Russia have verbally backed India's membership, neither has put that down in writing.
The draft resolution calls for next year's UN agenda to discuss the "Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council."
Once the draft is agreed on, it will be put to vote at the General Assembly, where a two-thirds vote is needed to clear it.
Ahead of the UN's 70th anniversary in October, the PM has, on foreign trips and in bilaterals with the heads of other countries, strongly lobbied for support for a permanent seat on the Security Council for India.