Pakistan hits support for Indian UN seat

PAKISTAN has decried Barack Obama’s support for an Indian seat at the UN Security Council.

The Muslim country has branded India’s bid as “power politics” and warning that US intervention could complicate the world body’s reform process.

The US President capped off a triumphant three-day tour of the subcontinent with a stirring speech to a joint session of the Indian parliament in New Delhi in which he delivered the long-coveted US imprimatur for India’s Security Council ambitions.

Mr Obama also made his most pointed statement about terrorism in Pakistan, saying Islamabad must do more to crack down on militants within its borders.

“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,” he said, referring to the November 2008 attacks by Pakistani gunmen that left about 170 people dead.

Mr Obama’s speech – and the subsequent India-US joint declaration, which laid out plans for closer ties in defence, counter-terrorism, trade, research and education – signalled Washington’s intention to assist in India’s elevation as a global power capable of countering China’s rising regional influence.

“I want every Indian citizen to know the United States of America will not simply be cheering you on from the sidelines. We will be right there with you, shoulder to shoulder, because we believe in the promise of India,” he said to rousing applause in the federal parliament’s central hall on Monday night (AEDT).

The parliamentary speech and joint declaration were enthusiastically received in India, with most major newspapers yesterday heralding the US endorsement – along with US criticism of Pakistan terror havens – as a major foreign policy fillip.

But his visit has left Pakistan – already miffed at the President’s refusal to include Islamabad in the four-nation Asia tour – fuming.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement yesterday accusing India of “blatant violations” of UN resolutions and calling on the US to “take a moral view and not base itself on any temporary expediency or exigencies of power politics”.

“Pakistan believes that US endorsement of India’s bid for its permanent seat in the Security Council adds to the complexity of the process of reforms of the council,” it said. Foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said any reform that contradicted the fundamental principles of the UN charter would gravely undermine the international diplomatic system.

“India’s aspirations for recognition as a global power notwithstanding, there are reasons enough to discredit this proposed direction of the process of reforms,” he said.

While US backing for a seat for India is important, officials must also win support of the other four veto-wielding council members – China, France, Britain and Russia – and the General Assembly.

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