Will the US give its nod?
In spite of the uneasy relationship between the US and the UN, the US continues to wield enormous influence in the UN decision making. It is inconceivable that any country can gain entry as a UNSC permanent member without the active support and consent of the US.india Updated: Nov 25, 2003 20:18 IST
Notwithstanding the uneasy relationship between the US and the UN, the fact remains that as the pre-eminent geo-political and economic superpower in the world, the US continues to wield enormous influence in the UN.
It is inconceivable that any country will gain entry into the Security Council as a permanent member without the support and consent of the US. Therefore, US support is almost mandatory if India is to mount a serious bid for permanent membership in the UN Security Council.
While Indo-US relations have been frosty in the past, the two countries have come much closer now, and as of now, there is little to suggest that the US is opposed to India's case for permanent membership.
|"All five members of the UN Security Council must realize that having India as a permanent member will give the South Asia region a stabilizing force, helping peace efforts in Central Asia and all parts of our increasingly connected world"|
Frank Pallone, United States Congressman
In the recently concluded 58th United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, India managed to garner brownie points in two respects. Firstly, Vajpayee used the international podium to strengthen India's high-profile claim for the permanent seat. Secondly and more importantly by reasoning India's reluctance to send troops to Iraq with the US President, George Bush on grounds of our national security.
Mr. Vajpayee's discussion with Mr. Bush reflected the major transformation in India-US relations, which have extended to substantive defense cooperation and frontier areas of science and technology. The US is aware of Indian concerns that Pakistan has not effectively stopped cross-border terrorism but continues to regard it as a valuable ally in its ongoing operations against Al Qaeda and the Taliban elements in Afghanistan.
Earlier, Bill Clinton too, had indicated that the U.S. would seriously consider supporting India's claim for permanent membership.
And perhaps the most apt summary of India's case has come from US Congressman Frank Pallone: "I believe it is morally wrong to ignore the voice of over one billion Indian people in the decision-making that affects them, and the rest of the world, India's location, its large population, its history of participating in U.N. peacekeeping operations, and its leadership in the non-alignment movement all justify its bid for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. All five members of the UN Security Council must realize that having India as a permanent security council member will give the South Asia region a stabilizing force, helping peace efforts in Central Asia and all parts of our increasingly connected world."
|"We are the two largest democracies..India is moving toward greater economic freedom as well. We have a common interest in the free flow of commerce, including through the vital sea-lanes of the Indian Ocean. Finally, we share an interest in fighting terrorism and in creating a strategically stable Asia."|
US President George Bush in the 'National Security Strategy of the United States of America (Sept. 2002)'
In February this year, Pallone, a long-standing friend of India, and the founder of the Congressional Caucus on US, had introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives eliciting support among US law-makers for India's case. In spite of all these positive signs, the fact remains that US has not publicly committed in India's favourfor entry into the Security Council as a permanent member.
According to foreign experts, the US reluctance derivesfrom four factors: Firstly, distrust of India dating back to the cold-war era among the hawks of the foreign establishment; Secondly, India's emergence as a nuclear power and defiance of the non-proliferation ideology preached by the US; Thirdly, the reluctance to upset both Pakistan and China; and fourthly, the perception that India has violatedSecurity Council resolutions on Kashmir.
Crucial Ally in the War against Terrorism
However, none of these factors are insurmountable. In the post-September 11th world, the US has revisited its old stereotypes with regard to India. It now views India as a crucially ally in the war against terrorism, and a stabilizing influence in South and Central Asia.
In the "National Security Strategy of the United States of America" released in September 2002, President Bush has said: "The United States has undertaken a transformation in its bilateral relationship with India based on a conviction that U.S. interests require a strong relationship with India. We are the two largest democracies, committed to political freedom protected by representative government. India is moving toward greater economic freedom as well. We have a common interest in the free flow of commerce, including through the vital sea-lanes of the Indian Ocean. Finally, we share an interest in fighting terrorism and in creating a strategically stable Asia".
In addition to the benefits of a strategic relationship, there is growing recognition about India's emergence as an economic superpower, which will play a major role in international trade, investment, and consumption in the years to come. Given these facts, the possibility of the US coming out openly in favour of India is very real providedthe Indian governmentcontinues toconstructively engage the US in its areas of interests.
First Published: Nov 25, 2003 20:18 IST