Obama backs India for permanent UNSC seat


NEW DELHI: US President Barack Obama on Monday backed India for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, recognising its rise as a great power in a significant victory for New Delhi’s foreign policy.
“The just and sustainable international order that America seeks includes a United Nations that is efficient, effective, credible and legitimate,” Obama said in a speech to Indian parliament.
“That is why I can say today – in the years ahead, I look forward to a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member,” he added on the last day of his state visit.
Obama cautioned, however, that with increased power came greater responsibility and called on future Security Council members to ensure the body was effective, that resolutions were implemented and sanctions enforced.
Given the tortuous negotiations likely to make the body – set up after World War II – reflect 21st Century realities, many analysts believe it could be years before the new council is formed.
Ben Rhodes, a deputy US national security adviser, said the intention of the US was clear, and based on India’s emerging role as a great strategic, economic and democratic power.
“A clear statement like this from the US is a very powerful signal,” he said, adding that Washington had expressed support for Japan’s aspirations in the past, but had not done so for India.
William Burns, the top ranked US foreign service officer, said Obama’s statement was a “recognition of the obvious about India’s rise and significance”. Earlier, Obama hailed deeper and closer alliance with India, which he said had established itself as a world power and a natural US ally on the global stage.
Obama heaped praise on the country and its Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the end of the three-day trip, which saw a raft of commercial deals signed and agreements to cooperate more closely in agriculture, health and energy.
The president said that the principles of democracy and human rights were too often ignored around the world, but India and the US would combine to promote them in “one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century”.