China on Thursday recorded its recognition of India's "status" in global affairs and said it "supports" its "aspiration" to play a greater role in the world body, a nuanced expression that could be seen as a step forward towards backing New Delhi's bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
The Chinese position was reflected in a declaration issued here after a Summit of Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) while referring to the need for comprehensive reform of the UN, including the Security Council, to make it "more effective, efficient and representative so that it can deal with today's global challenges more successfully."
The declaration said, "China and Russia reiterate the importance they attach to the status of India, Brazil and South Africa in international affairs and understand and support their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN."
While Russia has always forcefully backed India's candidature for permanent membership of an expanded UN Security Council, China has so far not been forthcoming.
Asked about the mention in the declaration, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the External Affairs Ministry Manbir Singh told reporters that it was an "endorsement" to India's quest for playing a larger role in the UNSC as the leaders talked about expansion and reform. "You can draw your own conclusion."
The Chinese expression of "support" for India's aspirations came against the backdrop of growing coordination between the two countries in the UN over critical issues like Libya.
India, which is a non-permanent member of the Security Council, and China have been on the same page with regard to such issues at the world body.
Sources said the two countries have been regularly holding consultations and coordinating positions with regard to UNSC issues.
Meanwhile, Chinese President Hu Jintao hosted a banquet for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Brazilian leader Dilma Rousseff and South Africa's Jacob Zuma
At the banquet, popular Hindi song Baar, baar dheko, hazaar baar dekho of Shammi Kapoor-starrer China Town film was played and it was appreciated by Singh.