US should openly support India for UN seat, says US ex-diplomat

January 29th, 2009 - 8:36 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 29 (IANS) The US should publicly support India’s bid for permanent membership of the UN Security Council and engage New Delhi in the quest for nuclear disarmament, said Karl Inderfurth, former US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia. He called for stronger Indo-US ties under the Obama administration.”It is time for the US to publicly support India’s bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and to work actively with India (and others) to accomplish the goal of Security Council expansion,” Inderfurth said here Thursday. He was participating in a discussion on ‘Future directions of US relations with India and the region’.

Suggesting a seven-point agenda for strengthening India-US relations under the Obama government, Inderfurth cited India’s thriving democracy, its billion-plus population, its expanding economy and its long standing contribution to UN peacekeeping to recommend its inclusion in an expanded UN Security Council.

The suggestions are part of a report prepared by the Asia Foundation, a US think tank, which focuses on deepening strategic and economic ties between India and the US that have been transformed by a landmark nuclear deal during the Bush administration.

The report entitled “America’s Role in Asia: Asian and American Views”, unveiled Thursday, has been prepared by a joint task force that included leading senior policy specialists from Asia and the US.

Inderfurth’s is one of the names doing the rounds for the position of the next US ambassador to India. He served as former US president Bill Clinton’s pointsman for South Asia between 1997-2001.

Conjuring up an upbeat picture of India-US ties in days to come, Inderfurth argued that “a strong India is important for the balance of power in Asia and for providing stability in the volatile and strategically important Indian Ocean littoral area.” The two countries should pursue a broader nuclear dialogue aimed at spurring renewed efforts towards global nuclear disarmament, he said.

He also made a compelling case for increasing counter-terror cooperation and collaborating closely in creating a stable, prosperous and democratic South Asia.

“India is prepared to do more to help Afghanistan and should be encouraged by the US and the UN to do so,” said Inderfurth.

He also called for greater cooperation between India and the US in bringing stability in Afghanistan and South Asia.

“There is no military solution to the problems in Afghanistan. We have to restore peace and stability in that country. India could be a valuable partner in this regard,” he said.

“There is a clear and present danger between what is happening in Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan. It can’t be diplomatic business as usual,” he said.

That’s why the US has decided to appoint Richard Holbrooke as a special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, he said

Inderfurth also advocated a “cooperative triangle” between the US, India and China where mutual relations are managed “in a cooperative and not a competitive way.”

“One way to further a close, cooperative relationship between the US and the leading industrialized nations and India and China would be to make these global powers formal members of an expanded G8 grouping comprising the world’s most developed nations,” he suggested.

Former National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra struck an upbeat tone on the future of India-US relations but cautioned that the closer India gets to the US, there will be some problems in relations due to divergences in perception over their role in world affairs.

“The US has a global agenda. India is not a global player yet; it has a regional agenda. There are possibilities of divergences of interests and perception,” he said while citing as an example India’s refusal to send troops to Iraq.

India’s former ambassador to the US Naresh Chandra, former envoy to Pakistan G. Parthasarathy, strategic expert C. Raja Mohan and Prime Minister’s special envoy on Pakistan S.K. Lambah also participated in the discussions.

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