Denying India veto at UNSC is an insult: Belarus

The erstwhile Soviet state of Belarus has offered to share with India laser-optical technology that is crucial for civil and defence applications, including in the guidance systems of smart weapons and missiles.

Belarus will be setting up a laser-optical research centre in India under an agreement to be signed during the visit of its President Alexander Lukashenka to India beginning Sunday.

India will be training Belarus personnel in Information Technology with the prospect of setting up a technology park in Minsk, 52-year-old Lukashenka said in an exclusive interview in the ornate Blakitny (blue) hall of the massive Stalin era Presidential Palace.

"We have a huge technological potential, much more than our own requirements and we are ready to share it with India," he said.

Lukashenka said strategic relations with nuclear powers -- India, China and Russia-- are the cornerstone of his country's foreign policy.

"Relations with India are the pride of our foreign policy. I underscore that we are proud of our close and friendly ties with India, dating back to decades and centuries," said the Belarus strongman, dubbed as the last dictator in Europe.

Lukashenka said Belarus backs India's candidature for the permanent membership of the UN Security Council with full veto rights.

"In 1998, speaking from the rostrum of the UN General Assembly, we had declared that in the changed world without India the mandate of Security Council is fractured to some extent," said Lukashenka responding to a question on New Delhi's bid for the permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

"Almost ten years back we had declared that it was highly unjustified that a country with the population of over a billion, possessing high technologies and like China, a nuclear power, is not represented in the Security Council," Lukashenka said.

He said that his nation of 10 million people, sandwiched between NATO and powerful Russia, will vote for India, whenever its candidature for the UNSC is put on vote.

"Depriving a nuclear power like India of the right of veto or other attributes of a permanent member as enjoyed by other permanent five will be an insult to the nation," Lukashenka said.

Lukashenka also sounded very optimistic about trilateral defence cooperation among India, Russia and Belarus. "Here we are not competitors with Russia. Moscow has involved us in several defence projects with India and more are in the pipeline," said Lukashenka, who has managed to preserve the potent military-technical complex inherited from the ex-USSR and banned the defence enterprises from churning out casseroles and spades under the so-called policy of conversion adopted by many former Soviet republics, including Russia.

Replying to questions, Lukashenka said India must take a lead in rejuvenating the Non-Aligned Movement. "I have requests from many NAM Heads of State that I talk to India to play a more active role," he said.