India's nominee for the post of United Nations secretary general Shashi Tharoor on Monday said his candidature will not dilute India's quest for a permanent seat in the Security Council.
Dispelling apprehension expressed by the Communist Party of India-Marxist during a meeting with India's nominee for the UN's top post, Tharoor said, "My candidature will not affect India's chances at all," as the two issues were not connected.
"India's bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council is part of the world body's reforms, which began in 1992. For us, secretary generalship is a matter of immediate future whereas permanent membership is a long-term issue. And my candidature will not affect India's chances at all," he said.
Talking to reporters after an hour-long meeting with CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat and politbureau member Sitaram Yechury, he said he addressed all their questions on various aspects of his candidature.
Tharoor said his meeting with CPI-M leaders was part of an exercise to keep the political leadership of the country abreast with the issues involving his candidature and his chances to get elected to the top post.
He exuded confidence of getting elected to the world body's top post and refused to comment on candidates nominated by other countries, including some of India's allies.
"We stand on our own records to take the responsibility of the top post. As far as India is concerned, we would not have been in the race if we did not have a chance," he said adding, he would not comment on the qualifications of other candidates as it was "inappropriate".
Tharoor said he believes his experience of working with the world body for the last 28 years would come in handy during his campaign as he had functioned from the ground up and was well-versed with challenges of making the UN system work.
On the vexed UN reforms issue, he said it was necessary to meet the challenges of the new political realities. "The present Security Council reflects the geo-political scenario of 1947 and not 2006," he added.
Asked about Pakistan's plans to put up a candidate against him, he said, "They are most welcome do to so" as he wished to see a broad choice of able and qualified candidates from whom the UN members can choose their next secretary general.
Talking to reporters later, Yechury said the party wanted to know the level of preparation and homework done by the country as it gears up to face an election for the UN's top post.
"He is not part of the Indian system and has not much experience with Indian foreign policy. He briefed us about the preparations and the country's chances," he said.
He said Tharoor has also told them that his candidature would not affect India's aspirations for a permanent membership in the UN Security Council, but asked the prime minister to come clear on the issue.