New Delhi: US President Barack Obama backed India for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council today, a dramatic diplomatic gesture to his hosts as he wrapped up his three-day visit.
“The just and sustainable international order that America seeks includes a United Nations that is efficient, effective, credible, and legitimate,” Obama said in prepared remarks. “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.”
Obama also said the Washington-Delhi relationship would be one of this century’s defining partnerships.
He was applauded as he told dignitaries: “As two global leaders, the United States and India can partner for global security – especially as India serves on the Security Council over the next two years.
Obama was making the announcement in a speech to the Parliament on the third and final day of his visit. In doing so, he fulfilled what was perhaps India’s dearest wish for Obama’s trip here.
Addressing a joint session of Parliament Obama said that over last three days my wife Michelle and I have experienced the beauty and dynamism of the people of India.
My confidence in India is grounded in respect for its treasured past and civilisation which has shaped the world over thousands of years, he said.
According to Agence India Press reporter, Obama also spoke about continued cooperation between India and the United States on tackling the global menace of terrorism, and the shared interest in the Afghan-Pak region. “The United States will not abandon the people of Afghanistan — or the region — to the violent extremists who threaten us all,” said Obama. The US President has said earlier that US will pull out of Afghanistan in 2011.
“Our strategy to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al-Qaida and its affiliates has to succeed on both sides of the border. That is why we have worked with the Pakistani government to address the threat of terrorist networks in the border region,” he added.
On Pakistan, Obama reiterated what he has said on this three day trip to India consistently. “We will continue to insist to Pakistan’s leaders that terrorist safe-havens within their borders are unacceptable, and that the terrorists behind the Mumbai attacks be brought to justice.”
“We must also recognize that all of us have an interest in both an Afghanistan and a Pakistan that is stable, prosperous and democratic — and none more so than India. In pursuit of regional security, we will continue to welcome dialogue between India and Pakistan, even as we recognize that disputes between your two countries can only be resolved by the people of your two countries,” said Obama.
US President became the first foreign dignitary to sign the “Golden Book” in Parliament. This is a visitor’s book introduced by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar. He was welcomed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Meira Kumar.
Obama addressed a joint session of Parliament for about 30 minutes in the Central Hall, which had been decked up for the occasion. Vice President Hamid Ansari made the opening address and the vote of thanks was given by the Lok Sabha speaker.
“We admire the tenacity of the American spirit and its capacity for introspection and course correction,” said Ansari, welcoming President Obama. The Lok Sabha Speaker spoke of the “compulsion of our times to work together to eliminate the scourge terrorism” as she thanked the US President and all those present.
On Kashmir, Obama said that US cannot impose solutions to these problems. I have indicated to Prime Minister that we are happy to play any role the parties think is appropriate in reducing tensions. It is in the interest of the two countries, region and the US.
“So, my hope is that conversations may be taking place between the two countries but they may not start on that particular flashpoint,” he said.
The US president is next due to visit Indonesia, South Korea and Japan on a 10-day Asian tour designed to boost US exports.
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