During his trip to India early next month, United States President Barack Obama should endorse India’s candidacy for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, an influential Washington think-tank has argued in a report to be released later this week.

Outlining some of the most pressing reasons why the U.S. ought to extend such support the report said that should the UNSC reform occur, it would be inconceivable that India would not be included in the reconfigured body given India was “on track to become the world’s third- or fourth-largest economy, possesses major military capabilities, remains a pluralist liberal democracy, and is a nuclear weapons state”.

Further, three of the five permanent members of the UNSC — Russia, the United Kingdom, and France — had already endorsed India’s candidacy, leaving only the U.S. and China “as strange bedfellows that have resisted the inclination to support New Delhi’s claims”, the report said.

The Obama in India report, authored by Ashley Tellis, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, argued that the U.S. President should also accelerate India’s assimilation into global non-proliferation bodies such as the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement.

With regard to the civil nuclear agreement, progress on which has slowed since the passage of the nuclear liability bill by the Indian Parliament, the report by Mr. Tellis argued, “Exhorting India to begin serious commercial negotiations with American nuclear suppliers and to sign and ratify the Convention on Supplementary Compensation… ought to be a priority.”

Common national interests

Speaking to The Hindu from Washington, Mr. Tellis said, about the overall agenda during Mr. Obama’s time in India, “The fundamental thing Obama should remember is that the U.S. partnership with India is intended to support common national interests over the long haul.”

He further said that there was no reason to be discouraged by the challenges that beset both sides today, adding, “There is plenty the United States and India can do together — not all of it will make the headlines but all of it will deepen the partnership.”

Issuing a note of caution to the U.S. on the Pakistan issue, the CEIP report said that Mr. Obama “ought to refrain from asking India… how it can placate Rawalpindi in order to evoke better counterterrorism cooperation from the Pakistan Army”.

In this regard, the report argued that the Obama administration knew well that there was “nothing that India can meaningfully do to assuage Pakistani paranoia beyond what it has done already, namely offer to sustain the peace process and maintain its restraint in the use of force despite the continuing terrorist attacks emanating from Pakistan”.

Released less than two weeks before Mr. Obama’s much-anticipated visit to India, the CEIP report further touched upon some of the geo-political imperatives for a deeper India-U.S. relationship.

Remarking upon the role of China in particular, the report said that the U.S. had a “vital stake in maintaining an Asian ‘balance of power that favours freedom’ at a time when managing China’s rise is certain to be the most important strategic challenge facing Washington”.