London, March 21: World opinion is strongly in favour of India being made a permanent member of the UN Security Council, according to a poll conducted by the BBC.
The poll, in which 23,518 people in 23 countries, including India, were questioned, was conducted on behalf of BBC World Service radio.
The findings, released today, show that the a majority of people across the world now want Germany, India, Japan and Brazil to become permanent members of the Security Council alongside the existing five ' China, France, Russia, Britain and the US.
Although figures vary from country to country, across the 23 countries, 69 per cent of those questioned want the Security Council to be expanded, while 17 per cent are against.
Not surprisingly, the figure is highest in India ' 87 per cent for and six per cent against. People were then asked about India, Japan, Brazil, Germany and South Africa. With India, the average for was 47 per cent, while 19 per cent were against Indian admission. Another 17 per cent were not against India as such but opposed the very principle of expansion.
'This is a very strong number in support of India,' Doug Miller, president of GlobeScan Inc, the international polling organisation which did the research, told The Telegraph.
GlobeScan was assisted by the Programme on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland.
Support for Germany was even stronger, with 56 per cent in favour, while Japan got 54 per cent, Brazil 47 per cent ' the same as India ' and South Africa 43 per cent.
In India, where people were interviewed in face to face interviews in Calcutta, Bombay and Delhi, 88 per cent said they wanted the country to become a permanent member, while only one per cent were against.
The figures reveal who are India's friends. In the US, 51 per cent were for India, while 19 per cent were against. In Britain, it was 62 per cent for, 13 against. In China, it was 31 per cent for and 24 per cent against.
Across the world, even in countries which have the Security Council veto, there is a majority view that one nation should not be able to hold up the other members if they unanimously reach agreement on an issue. Across the world, 58 per cent said the blocking power of the veto should be abandoned, while 24 per cent were against the idea.
Even in the US, the figure was 57 for and 34 against, while in China it was 48 for and 36 against.
'In the wake of Iraq there is strong support for democratisation of the UN,' said Miller. 'Results suggest that the tight control of the United Nations by a few countries may soon be history.'
He added that the size of the sample statistically represented '1.2 billion people ' the planet's population is 6 billion'.
'There is a positive movement for change at the UN,' he pointed out.
The BBC said that its poll 'finds near universal support for dramatic reforms in the UN in parallel with a desire for increased UN power in the world.
Majorities throughout the world favour adding permanent new members to the UN Security Council, with most favouring Germany, India, Japan and Brazil. Most favour giving the UN Security Council the power to override the veto power of the permanent members'.
The BBC's poll coincides with a call today by the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, who urged world leaders to 'act boldly' and endorse sweeping reforms of the organisation.
The reform package he is pursuing includes plans to: enlarge the Security Council from 15 to 24 members; streamline General Assembly agenda; introduce new guidelines for authorising military action; replace the Commission on Human Rights with a Human Rights Council; introduce a zero tolerance policy on abuses by UN peacekeepers; and improve co-ordination of environment and development aid agendas.