Countdown to Manmohan visit: Support and commendation for ‘rising power’ (Lead)

Washington, Nov 19 ( The US described India as a “rising global power” ahead of Manmohan Singh’s visit next week, saying few ties would matter more for “our collective future” even while the the US House of Representatives welcomed the prime minister and an expert suggested the Obama administration announce support for a permanent seat for New Delhi on the UN Security Council.

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William J. Burns Wednesday described India as a rising global power and said “few relationships will matter more to the course of human events in the 21st century than the partnership between India and the United States”.

“India, as all of you know very well, is a rising global power, soon to be the world’s most populous country, with a trillion dollar-plus economy,” said Burns.

“It is no coincidence that the first state visit in the Obama presidency will come from India, and Prime Minister Singh will arrive in Washington next week at a moment of great opportunity,” he said in a speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington think tank.

“Few relationships around the world matter more to our collective future, or hold greater promise for constructive action on the challenges that matter most to all of us, than the partnership between the United States and India,” Burns said.

The bipartisan House of Representative resolution – a rare gesture in itself – adopted by voice vote Wednesday notes that “the relationship between the United States and India has great potential to promote stability, democracy, prosperity and peace throughout the world.

Welcoming the prime minister to the US, the resolution commended the maturing of the relationship between the US and India, exemplified by Manmohan Singh’s upcoming state visit.

Manmohan Singh, it noted, “has helped shape India’s economic policies to permit the expansion of a market economy, which has led to greater economic prosperity for India and the growth of a middle class”.

Indian Ambassador Meera Shankar in an address Wednesday at Petersen Institute on “India’s Role in the World Economy and the future of India-US relations” said: “Even as we strengthen our growing cooperation in security, counter-terrorism and defence, we will give high priority to deepening economic ties.”

The future India-US economic partnership should be seen not just in terms of opportunities for multiplying trade and investment but also for finding solutions to the pressing global challenges of the times, she said.

The Manmohan Singh visit will be “an opportunity for us to consolidate all that we have achieved in the recent past and turn our progress into a springboard for deepening our cooperation and setting new directions in our relationship”, Shankar said.

“At the heart of their effort will be to create a framework that brings our two people into a closer relationship of shared endeavours, which will not only be of great benefit to our two nations, but also of value to the entire world.

“We will also increase our emphasis on cooperation in clean and renewable energy, education, science and technology and agriculture. The agenda reflects the extraordinary breadth of our bilateral engagement and the vision of cooperation of our two leaders.”

Meanwhile, a US policy analyst contended that the Obama administration should announce its support for a permanent seat for India on the UN Security Council during Manmohan Singh’s visit.

The new policy brief by Ashley J. Tellis, senior associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that although it would produce no immediate results, the bold declaration would signal New Delhi’s growing importance to Washington, and the Obama administration’s recognition of the changing global centre of gravity.

Tellis, who advised the previous Bush administration on the landmark India-US civil nuclear deal, identifies two areas where cooperation will be most challenging, and most vital: non-proliferation and climate change.

Contending that India is unlikely to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), he said this would leave a strong possibility that even if the US ratifies the agreement, it will never come into force.

Noting that India’s integration into the global non-proliferation regime remains incomplete, Tellis suggested that the US should work to integrate India into global non-proliferation institutions, including the Proliferation Security Initiative, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Australia Group, and the Zangger Committee.

Obama’s nuclear security summit next year will be a golden opportunity for the United States and India to collaborate on universal nuclear security standards, Teliis said, “but New Delhi will need to overcome its misplaced anxieties about discussing its nuclear programme in public”.