Obama backs India for permanent Security Council seat

Published: November 8, 2010
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers an address to India's parliament in New Delhi, November 8. PHOTO: AFP

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers an address to India's parliament in New Delhi, November 8. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI: US President Barack Obama 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 the 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 advisor, said that the intention of the United States was clear, and based on India’s emerging role as a great strategic, economic and democratic power.

‘A clear statement like this from the United States 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’.

But he cautioned that the announcement on Monday was only one small step in a ‘very complicated and difficult process’ of reforming the Security Council underway at the United Nations in New York.

‘It is bound to take a significant amount of time.’

Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States are the only permanent members of the Security Council and can veto any resolution.

India has won a temporary seat on the UN Security Council and will take up the position for two years from January 1.

Momentum built in 2005 to reform the Security Council on the United Nations’ 50th anniversary, with Brazil, Germany, India and Japan launching a joint bid for new permanent seats.

But the initiative failed, with the then US administration of George W. Bush only publicly backing the membership of Japan, a longstanding US ally and major donor to the United Nations.

China, the only Asian nation in the Security Council, strongly opposed Japan’s membership by accusing it of not atoning for World War II.

It has since said it is willing to talk to India and Japan about Security Council reforms but has not supported the membership of either nation.

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Reader Comments (35)

  • Yousaf
    Nov 8, 2010 - 6:28PM

    Now we should die with Shame!! our leaders are literally taking us backward…. !!

    Pakistan can’t beat India, I am realizing now.Recommend

  • Ronit
    Nov 8, 2010 - 6:38PM

    Thanks Obama!! India deserves it. Lets hope that two largest secular democracies in the world will work together and will forget their past disputes. Recommend

  • Talha
    Nov 8, 2010 - 6:45PM

    We would be a great rising power too. Our country was highly regarded and talked with a lot of respect. Time Magazine wrote decades ago that Pakistan was ‘brimming with confidence’ and had worlds respect.

    We become the least corrupt and most progressive state in Asia during the 60’s but blunders followed and Islamism dragged us backward.

    What could have been? Recommend

  • Syed Nadir El-Edroos
    Nov 8, 2010 - 7:05PM

    @Yousaf: Beat India? At what? How is something that happens to India shameful to us? If you think that we are not getting our due attention then we should get off our backside and work to move the country forward, rather than trying to make sure that other countries stay behind. Anyways, Obama may have offered his support, but Security Council reform will take years to push through, not to mention that China may veto it. Recommend

  • Aid
    Nov 8, 2010 - 7:08PM

    Pakistan should also be a contender for a permanent UNSC seat. IMHORecommend

  • Kamal
    Nov 8, 2010 - 7:26PM

    Bhai Yousaf,why you are comparing Pakistan with India?Compare Pakistan with Afganistan there you stand a chance….Recommend

  • Sheru
    Nov 8, 2010 - 7:29PM

    Happy for India – They deserve it. On the other hand, China’s statement “Pakistan is our Israel” assures that Pakistan is well taken care of too!Recommend

  • Nov 8, 2010 - 7:32PM

    The US supports India’s bid as a permanent member of the UNSC. The US will bring much awaited reforms in the United Nations and India is going to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. This is a new beginning in the relations between the two largest and oldest democracies of the world, India and the US, and this great partnership between these two great nations will definitely define the 21st century…:-) India has finally been given the rightful place on the world stage. India has arrived…:-) Thank you, Mr President…God bless India and America..:-) Jai Hind..:-)Recommend

  • faraz
    Nov 8, 2010 - 7:34PM

    Now we will have to review our policy of becoming a security state.Recommend

  • nina
    Nov 8, 2010 - 7:42PM

    Isn’t it amazing how a nation which has terrorized its minorities for decades can now become a permanent member of the security council! How are we to forget the spilled blood of so many Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and the lower castes by the worlds largest so-called democracy. I am wondering how much Obama is getting paid by the Israeli/Indian lobby to back India?

    *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.”***

    So as a permanent security council member, can we trust that India will ensure that UN resolutions are implemented? They do not allow the UN resolution calling for a plebicite in Kashmir to be implemented. Today, the United Nations is only a forum for the advancement of war against the Muslim world. Recommend

  • Nov 8, 2010 - 7:43PM

    How dare he give them the UN seat without resolving the Kashmir issue first?Recommend

  • wali Afridi
    Nov 8, 2010 - 7:59PM

    It is a good news for the Indians but it would take centuries in handing the status of veto…..For America, India is a Watch-dog for south and south-East Asia..the Americans are not mad to bring the a servant on the same table…. Recommend

  • Kamal
    Nov 8, 2010 - 8:02PM

    “How dare?” what a question Mr Raza…the ans is because of this approach of yours…Recommend

  • Ben
    Nov 8, 2010 - 8:29PM

    President Obama’s “sales trip” to India has exhibited many moods keeping in view the niche he was facing. At Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Hotel, his speech commemorating the victims of the Nov. 26, 2008, terrorist attacks on India’s financial capital neglected to mention “the P-word” disappointing his hosts. This is because Mumbai was not his target customers and he did not want to reveal his sales strategy beforehand. His target customers who had some clout to decide on doing business with him were in Indian parliament. This is where he struck the right note for Indians, saying the things that he said. Read more at: link textRecommend

  • Akhtar
    Nov 8, 2010 - 8:35PM

    Why Pakistan up set you hate America all of you then why should America support you
    Idia is moving ahead and all Pakistani nation is doing is to destroy their immage their government judiciary and army
    No body wants bomb attacks in security council learn to live like a peaceful dignified nationRecommend

  • sandy
    Nov 8, 2010 - 8:35PM

    Where is all the concern of Pakistan when China slaughters Tibetans and Muslim Uyghars in Xinjiang?For Pak entire world circulates around issues in India… they dont have any self Identity. It has such a narrow view of the world. So as India moves forward leaving behind the past of 60s and 70s Pak leaders and citizens are looking for ways to remain relelvant and in the news. Recommend

  • Ronit
    Nov 8, 2010 - 9:31PM

    @wali- like pakistan is a watchdog for China in Central/South Asia. Even China wont help pakistan on its economy coz they dont want their servant to sit with themRecommend

  • Anoop
    Nov 8, 2010 - 9:38PM

    Inevitable. Now, 4 out of 5 Security Council members support India’s candidature. This may take years to happen, but a start nonetheless.

    To those who are saying countries with border issues should not become UN veto weilding powers let me remind you that China has border issues with India, Vietnam and issues with Japan, Taiwan,etc and is a bully in south china sea. Russia has the Chechnya issue and has problem with neighboring states like China, Georgia,etc.. So, guys UN security council is not about who has what issues pending but who has power.

    India which is going to be either the largest or the 2nd largest economy in the world in 30 years has to be in. It just doens’t make any sense passing a resolution where India wont support it in 30 years. Its inevitable in every way.

    This is a smart move because Obama will be liked by Indians more and will receive economic support from India.

    Please, dont even compare India and Pakistan. We are not equals by any measure.Recommend

  • Nov 8, 2010 - 9:54PM

    An achievement for India, but still there is China left.Recommend

  • Cherish Raj
    Nov 8, 2010 - 10:19PM

    China has been supporting India’s quest for a permanent seat in the UNSC since 2003 though she wants to keep the Japanese out. United States was the only permanent member who was not for India’s demand in principle. But China’s opposition to Japan might make things difficult for India in the overall expansion of the UNSC in practice.Recommend

  • Neeraj, India
    Nov 8, 2010 - 10:44PM

    A UNSC resolution means nothing, if it is not endorsed by the countries such as India, Japan, Brazil and south Africa, the rest of so called permanent member of UNSC are incapable of implementing SC resolutions without the consent of the above mentioned, great powers of 21st century.
    Pak still lives on to get the 63 year old SC resolutions on Kashmir to be implemented. What a joke! The Kashmir resolutions are no more…
    Pakistan must understand that making peace with India is an absolute necessity, even for it to dream of becoming a country of relevance in the this new century. Recommend

  • Ashutosh
    Nov 8, 2010 - 10:56PM

    With changing times and equations at global level, the rise of India is eminent. In the long run all countries in the neighborhood of India are likely to benefit more than India itself. As these may smaller nations and can focus on their own interest and judicially utilize their resources to their own advantage. And their target is India. India, you might agree, is a consumption oriented economy like the US.

    Once Pakistan is out of the current problems, they are likely to be benefited hugely not only because of their neighborhood (India) but as an important link between the central Asia and India too.

    In the long run, I see a huge revenue being earned by Pakistan as trespassing fee/ levy and industrial townships dotting along these transit routes, similar to special economic zones in China and India. This will hugely benefiting the common Pakistani and government.Recommend

  • Praveen Kumar
    Nov 8, 2010 - 11:33PM

    This is just an endorsement and it will take more than a decade to happen. I am not worried about UNSC seat too much. I mean, India is destined to be among top 3 superpower so i think UNSC needs India rather than other-way round. China wont be able to stop India and i doubt if China would pick fight over such a trifling matter – as UNSC is just an vanity post and does not have all that big influence. If China comes out openly against India, that would sideline China within a decade.Recommend

  • Talha
    Nov 9, 2010 - 1:53AM

    We would be a great rising power too. Our country was highly regarded and talked with a lot of respect. Time Magazine wrote decades ago that Pakistan was ‘brimming with confidence’ and had worlds respect.

    We become the least corrupt and most progressive state in Asia during the 60′s but blunders followed and Islamism dragged us backward.

    What could have been?Recommend

  • Haris Chaudhry
    Nov 9, 2010 - 3:12AM

    To all my fellow India-bashing countrymen:

    This is why the global comity takes India 10 times seriously than this land of pure:

    1) India’s military does not impose martial laws at whim and their generals, brigadiers and colonels dont get 1000 sq yards and more of prime real estate..

    2) India got rid of its feudal system immediately after it came into being. Our rural class is still trapped in 10th century and slave to the feudal land lords.

    3) India is a secular country. It does have its fair share of communal riots but far below Pakistan’s level of anarchy and loss of sovereignity on its own soil.

    4) Indian Nuclear scientists are never blamed for opening up a “free for all nuke bazar” as our A Q Khan did – flying on his whim from Libya to North Korea and Iran and Dubai selling technology and parts. World doesnt trust us !!

    5) India has had successive democratic governments since its formation – Pakistan couldnt boast of a single truly democratic transition.

    6) India is largely secular. Again, the implementation might not be ideal but it has taken great strides over the last 50 years in creating secular cohesion amongst its hundreds of sects, religions, languages and background populace. Pakistan on the other hand is a confused “Islamic” republic that does not know its own true identity. Look at our passports – the only country (probably after saudi) that wants its holders to put in their “religion” in passport. Bordering on insanity..

    7) India’s economy is now close to 15 times bigger than Pakistan’s. Its stock market is close to 16 times our size. Its exports are tens of times more than us and it is growing three times the rate of our economy with 1 billion population. This is the dream stuff for corporates, multinationals, industrialists and exporters. We on the other hand are still debating on how to control load shedding !

    8) India hosted Common Wealth Games, it hosts Formula 1 next year and is attracting international caliber events. We cant even host under 19 international championship of any sort. No one wants to travel here.

    9) India is now considered as a leading super power, capable of holding itself in the international comity of nations with pride and without a begging bowl. We roam around the world asking our expat population and western and arab world to help us plug our budgetary deficit and loan us enough for us to pay our accrued loan installments back… We are the beggars effectively..

    10) We are known to export terror globally. India isnt. Irrelevant of the debate regarding what India is or isnt doing in Kashmir, the entire world looks at us as a hot bed of global sharia inspired terrorism. India does not have remotely close reputation.

    11) India’s foreign exchange reserves are 12 times higher than us. Its richest brothers (Anil & Mukesh Ambani) are worlds 4 and 5th richest people and expected to be the richest by 2015. One brother could buy 100% of Karachi Stock Exchange (as in every stock traded there) and still have over $10 billion leftover. There are hundreds of billionaires in India.

    12) Mercedes is built in India. BMW and VW are following suit. Worlds’ most expensive road car Bugatti Veyron was launched last week from India for global markets… (understand how world looks at India).. It hosts most important fashion festivals in Asia and caters for A list celebrities from around the world.

    13) It is almost 6 times bigger in population than Pakistan and 10 times bigger in its resources but has half the cabinet size of Pakistan..!! Work that out..

    So, my fellow country men, stop deluding yourselves in wanting to believe that we somehow have a superior nation or that India does not deserve a UN seat.

    The world at large acknowledges India for what it is now. An emerging super power. We would be much better off learning to live with a powerful and responsible neighbour than listening to Imran Khan and Zaid Hamid in plotting to conquer India !!

    It is in our interest to mend fences with India and to make the relationship work ! We dont have the will, resources, leverage and tenacity to fight with it anymore. It will work out well for our masses to accept this reality and to work to improve the relations.



  • Ali
    Nov 9, 2010 - 5:55AM

    Pakistan needs to show some dignity. Pakistan’s only realistic option is to improve relations with Iran and China and stand on its own feet and immediately opt out of US Islamophobic wars in Af-Pak.

    US is using the old British imperialist policies of using the Asians (natives) against each other and weaken its rivals. This policy will not work in the 21st century which will be dominated by China. US is a sunset power beset by huge problems. Recommend

  • srinivasan
    Nov 9, 2010 - 7:01AM

    It is funny that Pakistan instead of supporting India’s candidature, it is opposing it. Pakistan is much like India in many things, The current issues of differences will get resolved one way or other in the near future. Where will Pakistan hide then for not supporting India. This also should not become an issue of differences between us. Like Pakistan is whinging about Afganistan that it opposed the entry of Pakistan to UN, dont give a chance to India to whinge about Pakistan’s objections. The current issues driving the world countries together and forging alliances are economics, democracy and terrorism Everyone knows where India stands and Pakistan stands. The socalled FOP are for alms giving and not for supporting Pak in every forum, The criteria for that is something else, Similarly slowly Pakistan is becoming a satellite for China, Once China’s objectives against India gets softened and China changes its stance, pakistan will become a tissue paper to them. Come on Pakistanis, lend an ear to the rest of the world’s concerns, cooperate in fixing the terrorists,reform ur educational system and spend more there instead of guns and bullets because you are not to able to afford them now. Once America leaves this region, the old sanctions, and anti Pakistani feelings everywhere will crop up.Therefore while the benefactor is around, make use of it and reform yourself. Remember the terrorists, whether ur assets are liabilities, never gave u money, support, training etc. They gave u nightmares and continue to give it. Sort out your policies and we can live as happy neighbours. Take a leaf from BangladeshRecommend

  • Rahim
    Nov 9, 2010 - 9:25AM

    Generations of Pakistanis will die without ever fully understanding the Kashmir issue. There are always two sides of any Kashmir story..A story told by Pakistani media to instigate Pakistani’s and the real story.
    Why don’t people in Pakistan understand that the regime just want to breed hatred among people and leave them impoverished!! This has happened since 63 years now and finally people in India are getting past this issue and realising that its better to lead a comfortable life than just fighting and growing hatred.
    All these people in Pakistani regime just want to earn money in Pakistan. All their family are usually based in UK/USA and live a comfortable life!!!
    So guys please let’s look beyond India and Kashmir and think about more important issues at our hand…People are still dying in the flood…bomb blasts every day….No electricity..no jobs…..Even if Kashmir is freed…would it solve all these problem?? Is there a big gold mine in Kashmir which will bring prosperity to Pakistan as soon( if ever ) we get our hands on it!!!
    The answer is NO!!!Recommend

  • sandy
    Nov 9, 2010 - 10:39AM

    @ Praveen: Dude.. your comment is actually chosen at FP as a reader update. Good one.. Jai ho,Recommend

  • Shoaib
    Nov 9, 2010 - 11:08AM

    Kashmiris want independence , no one’s listening to them!Recommend

  • Tony Singh
    Nov 9, 2010 - 11:13AM

    What difference would that make to Pakistan? Pakistan should utilise this time to improve upon its Economy (the way Japan and Germany did after WWII. They did not carry the baggage of humiliation and forged lasting ties with US). Don’t bother about P5,P6..etc. Its only economy that can bring respectability. It brought some to India, it will bring to Pakistan too. If on the other hand all the energy is wasted in pulling India down, then what can one expect?Recommend

  • Ronit
    Nov 10, 2010 - 12:25AM


    So are balochis!!Recommend

  • Nov 10, 2010 - 10:10AM

    Expansion in UN Security Council with new Permanent members is good thing and expansion in term of size is also important. Kingdom thinks that veto power is not justified in democratic environment. , Kingdom welcomes President Obama decision to support India for permanent seat in UN Security Council. Kingdom also urges global community to redo structure of UN Security Council with more permanent and non permanent members with equal right (Not a single member can use veto power). In this way UN Security Council work more effectively.
    Kingdom of Truth Recommend

  • rajat
    Nov 10, 2010 - 1:45PM

    @Rahimyesterday:i clearly agree with u rahim and hope ur overconfident generals and politicians too understand before its too late.pakistan has a lot of interospection to do.it needs to understand that the world of today gives respect who is economically prosperous and not militarily or who has nuclear weapons.ur govt should help investing in ur education the most important resource which a country has rather than spending 4% of ur gdp on arms.we in india value education a lot becos it gives ur respect and security for our future.but still i also agree india shd do more on that front.i think ur big problem is ur education.young guys in ur country dont get jobs and then they dont hv any option but to join a terrorist org.so my earnest hope to all u guys is studyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy and studyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy so that u can not only make difference to ur country but to the world i think.world today if respects india its solely due to its economic power,its people and not becos it has lot of weapons Recommend

  • G. Din
    Nov 21, 2010 - 7:43PM

    “…Kashmiris want independence , no one’s listening to them!”
    I want, badly indeed do, to be the omnipotent Caliph of the world. I have about the same odds in favour or against me as the Kashmiris getting their “azaadi”. I am a Hindu!Recommend

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