Obama reminds India of its global responsibility
On Monday evening, addressing a joint session of the Indian Parliament in New Delhi, U.S. President Barack Obama granted India the holy grail it had hoped for from the President’s landmark visit, as he gave his support to Indian demands for a permanent seat on a reformed and enlarged U.N. Security Council.
But Obama’s endorsement was followed by some subtle warnings for India, which won election to the executive high table for a two-year term beginning in January last month, a position that alone will pose some difficult questions for the South Asian giant.
“Let me suggest that with increased power comes increased responsibility,” Obama said after the applause from the assembled lawmakers for his show of support had died down.
Specifically, Obama called for India to support the U.S. drive to ensure Iran’s nuclear programme remains peaceful. New Delhi, a key trading partner with Iran, has stated its aversion to sanctions against the country’s nuclear ambitions, but under pressure from the U.S. voted for sanctions at the U.N. General Assembly in 2008.
Obama also called on India to join in condemnation of the suppression of democracy in Myanmar, where polls took place this week.
He even chastened India for avoiding such issues in the past.
“If I can be frank, in international fora, India has often shied away from some of these issues,” the President remarked, after reminding the world’s largest democracy that as a global leader, it had a responsibility to condemn such “violations of human rights”.
Obama’s backing may well have boosted India’s hopes for a permanent seat on the Security Council, but it came with caveats.
The world waits to see what India will offer Obama in return.
(For full coverage of Obama’s visit to India, click here )