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Obama Backs India for Permanent UN Security Council Seat

U.S. President Barack Obama, left, is received by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, as he arrives for bilateral talks at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, 8 Nov. 2010.

U.S. President Barack Obama, left, is received by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, as he arrives for bilateral talks at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India, 8 Nov. 2010.

U.S. President Barack Obama says he supports a reformed United Nations Security Council that includes India as a permanent member.

In a nod to India's rise as a global power, Mr. Obama told India's parliament that America seeks a United Nations that is efficient, effective, credible and legitimate and "that is why" he backs India becoming a permanent member. He spoke in New Delhi on Monday, the third and final day of his visit to India.

Indispensable relationship

Mr. Obama also hailed India as an already emerged global power. He said India's relationship with the United States will be indispensable for the 21st century. Near the end of his three-day visit to India, President Obama spoke about a vision he says the two nations can achieve.

"For in Asia and around the world, India is not simply emerging; India has already emerged," the president said. "And it is my firm belief that the relationship between the United States and India, bound by our shared interests and values, will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century. This is the partnership I have come here to build. This is the vision that our nations can realize together."

Mr. Obama said India has surmounted overwhelming odds to become a model to the world, and now both countries have a historic opportunity to define the century ahead and promote common prosperity.


In mentioning deepening security and counter-terrorism cooperation with India, Mr. Obama said both nations honor their citizens who were killed in the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008, and in the United States in 2001.

Regarding an issue of great concern to India, Mr. Obama said neighboring Pakistan has increasingly recognized the threat that terrorist networks pose to it and those outside of Pakistan.

"We will continue to insist to Pakistan's leaders that terrorist safe-havens within their borders are unacceptable," Mr. Obama promised, "and that the terrorists behind the Mumbai attacks be brought to justice. We must also recognize that all of us have and interest in both an Afghanistan and a Pakistan that is stable, prosperous and democratic, and none more so than India."

The president said the U.S. continues to welcome dialogue between India and Pakistan, even as it recognizes that disputes can only be resolved by the people of the two countries.


Mr. Obama praised Indian development assistance for the Afghan people, and said the U.S. commitment there will endure even after the planned beginning of an American draw down next year.

Earlier, a joint news conference with the president and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh covered the U.S.-India economic relationship, Kashmir and efforts to reduce India-Pakistan tensions, and nuclear non-proliferation and counter-terrorism.


President Obama avoided a direct response on Kashmir, but underscored the American view that India and Pakistan must find a way to reduce tensions.

"I think Prime Minister Singh is sincere and relentless in his desire for peace," the president said. "And so, my hope is that both sides can, over the next several months, several years, find mechanisms that are appropriate for them to work out what are these very difficult issues."

Prime Minister Singh said India is prepared to engage with Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues, but he had this pointed criticism for the government in Islamabad.

"But it is our request that you cannot simultaneously be talking, and at the same time the terror machine is as active as ever before. Once Pakistan moves away from this terror-induced coercion, we will be very happy to engage productively with Pakistan to resolve all our outstanding issues," the prime minister said.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday accused India of rejecting what he called peace overtures, but said Pakistan is working to bring to justice those behind the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in 2008.

Tech industry

Both leaders mentioned the U.S. decision to remove Indian companies from a restriction list for high-technology exports and announced agreements to expand cooperation in space, civil nuclear, defense, clean energy efforts and education.

On economic and business relations, President Obama said again that intensified U.S. investment in India will lead to job creation in the United States. Prime Minister Singh said India is not in the business of stealing jobs from the United States, and called new business deals announce during Mr. Obama's visit a win-win for both countries.

Next stop

President Obama's next scheduled stop on his four nation Asian tour is Indonesia.

U.S. officials say he will strike many of the same themes he did in India - the importance of Indonesia as an emerging democracy and economy, and its role in regional and global organizations.