Washington/New York, Feb 16 (IANS) With US President Barack Obama backing India’s quest for permanent membership of the UN Security Council, India see a new momentum for the expansion of the top decision making forum of the world body.
“The US support has come at a very opportune time as this campaign (of UN Security Council reform) has been gathering momentum,” Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters here Tuesday.
Indian Ambassador to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri was recently in Washington and had discussions with the State Department on this issue, noted Rao who discussed UN reform among a host of issues with US officials including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“The subject of UN reform and the US support for it is obviously important because the US as a permanent member of the Security Council has made its position known on the expansion of the Security Council and on the inclusion of the countries like India,” she said.
“It has also supported the candidature of Japan as a permanent member,” Rao noted.
Meeting in New York last week India, Brazil, Germany, and Japan last week decided to push ahead with their campaign for permanent seats on the Security Council, saying they hoped for concrete action this year.
“We deeply appreciate the fact that President Obama made that declaration of support for India’s candidature as a Permanent Member of the Security Council,” said Rao who was here to prepare for the next round of India-US strategic dialogue in New Delhi on April 6.
“There is also a larger issue of building support on the floor of the General Assembly for expansion in both permanent and non-permanent categories of the Security Council and that is a campaign that is ongoing,” Rao said.
“A stage has now been reached where we have a very large number of countries that have expressed themselves in favour of expansion of in both the permanent and non-permanent categories,” she said.
India and the United States have also been discussing on a range of other issues at the UN and co-operation on UN and multilateral matters. “There is a whole broad band of issues on which we co-operate in the UN,” she said.
At her meetings with Clinton and Under Secretary of state Bill Burns Tuesday, Rao said she basically focused on a number of issues that had to be followed up after Obama’s visit to India last November.
Rao, who arrived here from New York Sunday evening, also met with US Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator Raj Shah and other officials of State Department, Commerce, Defence, and Energy departments.
Rao also held meetings with some officials of the Obama Administration at the White House as also lawmakers on the Capitol Hill.