Opposition gathers against India's UNSC push NEW DELHI: As India's push for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council gathers pace, the opposition too is gearing up for battle. In May, Italy has invited the group of countries known as 'United for Consensus' to a meeting in Rome to chart out a strategy in the UN that can halt the momentum of the G-4 countries (India, Brazil, Germany and Japan) to reform the UN's apex body. Much more importantly, China has sent off demarches to UN missions asking everyone to put the brakes on the UNSC reform process. Sources said that since March, southeast Asian countries have been repeatedly reminded by China that UNSC expansion should take its time, and be the result of a "broad consensus". Its not clear yet whether China has been invited to the meet in Italy. It's unlikely, but if it happens, even at an observer level, it will be a red rag to G-4 countries. China is the only P-5 member to continue to oppose the G-4's UNSC ambitions. After US President Barack Obama endorsed India's candidature, the US effectively stepped off the bench, leaving China as the sole dissenter. At the recent BRICS summit, China and Russia said in the joint communique that they "supported" the G-4's ambitions. None of the P-5 countries are wild about changing the Security Council, but recognize that its membership represents an obsolete global order. The UFC group used to be called the 'Coffee Club' and includes Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran, South Korea, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, Italy, Spain, Canada, Mexico and Argentina. An official from one of the countries said they wanted a regional solution which would take care of a distortion in the UN Security Council -- if Germany makes it to the UNSC, it will be the third European country in the body, at a time when Europe is diminishing in importance globally. India believes that it will get over 128 votes necessary to pass a resolution in the UNGA pushing the new text of the intergovernmental text-based negotiations. The latest version is a 5-page document which lists the different options on Council expansion. Meanwhile, India has stepped up its UN diplomacy considerably. Foreign minister S M Krishna will be lobbying hard at the conference of the LDCs (least developed countries) to be held in Turkey in May. At a special meeting with the LDCs in Delhi in April, India pushed for their support. India will repeat the message with the 53-member African Union also in May when India hosts an India-Africa summit in Addis Ababa. Even the small island states have not escaped India's attention. Indian officials are confident of India's prospects. The road ahead is complex. Even if the UNGA votes for the text, it will only be the beginning of difficult negotiations on the nature of the reform. The other difficulty is Africa. The G-4 plan envisages two seats for Africa, but the African Union is still to make up its mind. South Africa and Nigeria, two contenders for the UNSC, are both in the Security Council this year as are all the G-4 aspirants -- a first in history.