US President Barack Obama’s announcement of support for India’s permanent membership in the UN Security Council (UNSC) is essentially “a cheque that cannot be easily cashed”, said a Chinese daily.
In an article titled “Obama greets India with more than a lip service?” in People’s Daily, columnist Li Hongmei wrote: “Much to the delight of Indians…Obama reportedly alluded to what is called the `emphatic endorsement’ for a permanent seat for India in the Security Council, even if he essentially handed the Indians a cheque that cannot be easily cashed.”
Support for the permanent UNSC seat for New Delhi was the crowning moment of Obama’s Nov 6-9 visit to India.
Obama told Indian parliament: “Indeed, the just and sustainable international order that America seeks includes a United Nations that is efficient, effective, credible and legitimate.
“That is why I can say today – in the years ahead, I look forward to a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member.”
The People’s Daily article said that Obama kickstarted his “biggest ever trade mission” to the city of Mumbai, assuring India “it is never left in the cold by the world’s super power”.
It said that “a bulky deal of $10 billion concluded with India and a fat prospect of job offers for more than 50,000 Americans are what Obama needs desperately to shrug off the gloomy situation with a reservoir of domestic troubles”.
Li noted: “What is equally noteworthy is that India is ramping up its military procurement prompted by the alleged threat from China and its ambition to lead the region, making India an attractive market for US defence companies.”
She added: “The US administrations, since George W. Bush, have pinned hope on Delhi to act as the counterweight to Beijing.”
While emphasising that Obama and his wife Michelle “would cherish the common sense of returning good for good, as Indians are anxiously expecting”, the article stressed that “not all of the US favours are tangible and accessible”.
Li had a good word for Michelle, whom she described as “charming first lady”, who played hopscotch, danced and sang with disadvantaged children from the Indian charity.
The article went on to say that New Delhi “cannot totally let go (of) the worry that on the US radar screen, strategic vision of India remains diminutive compared with the rivaling Pakistan, and the US would still have to reach out to China while hand-in-hand with India”.
On economic issues, “the US and India are right now singing a duet, echoing each other”.
The article wrapped up, saying: “It is too early to conclude Obama would satisfy the India’s expectations better and more concretely than, say, the previous Bush administration.”
“And it is absurd to say Obama’s whirlwind tour to India is a proof that the US strategic focus has been shifted from Beijing to Delhi.”