US must support India’s UN council membership: Ex-diplomats

November 5th, 2010 - 4:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, Nov 5 (IANS) Ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit to India, former US diplomats have advocated for India’s permanent membership in an expanded UN Security Council and said a strengthened India-US ties is imperative.

“The emergence of India as a new major global power will have profound implications for the future trajectory of this century and for America’s global interests. In this light, a strengthened US-India strategic partnership is imperative, we believe, for America’s own future leadership role,” said former undersecretary of state Nicholas Burns and former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage.

Apart from deepening military ties, the countries should also focus on issues like trade and health, the former diplomats wrote in a joint article published in the Wall Street Journal Friday.

“We believe the US can and should move more ambitiously to chart a new global partnership with India. It is time, for example, for the US to support India’s permanent membership in an enlarged United Nations Security Council,” the article read.

“This will create the environment for vastly expanded cooperation together on pressing global political issues. We should seek a broad expansion of bilateral trade and investment, beginning with a long-delayed Bilateral Investment Treaty.”

They said the Nov 6-9 visit of Obama to India has a “chance to rejuvenate America’s relationship with the world’s largest democracy”.

The US administration, they said, has already taken a initial steps by hosting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the first state visit of his presidency in 2009.

“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has launched a new strategic dialogue with India and the Obama administration has signaled it intends to make India a priority in the years ahead on climate change, trade and a host of other issues,” they added.

Besides exploring opportunity to boost defence partnership with New Delhi, Washington should also support Indian membership in key export control organisations, which would constitute a step towards integrating India further into global non-proliferation efforts.

The US administration and Congress should liberalise US export controls that have an impact on India, including by removing the Indian Space Research Organisation from the US “Entity List”, the experts opined.

“The reason for a rejuvenated effort with India is clear: The US has a vital interest in forging a closer strategic partnership with India, ranging from ensuring a stable Asian and global balance of power, strengthening the global trading system, protecting the global commons, countering terrorism, bolstering the international non-proliferation regime, and promoting democracy and human rights,” they said.

“In addition, a strong US-India strategic partnership will prove indispensable to Asia’s continued peace and prosperity.”

They said the expanding US-India military and political ties will make it easier for both Washington and New Delhi to have productive relations with Beijing.

“A strong India working closely with the US on pressing issues such as HIV/AIDS, human trafficking and poverty alleviation has the potential to transform the global landscape in the 21st century in a positive direction,” they said.

However, the diplomats said, this will require India to make a number of commitments and policy changes, including taking rapid action to fully implement the Civil Nuclear Agreement, which was agreed by both countries in July 2007 but is not yet operational.

They suggested India to raise its caps on foreign investment, reduce barriers to defense and other forms of trade and enhancing its rules for protecting patents and other intellectual property.

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