The United States has cautioned against expecting any breakthrough "anytime soon" on the U.N. Security Council reforms, dampening India's hopes for a permanent seat just a week after U.S. President Barack Obama backed its quest for this prestigious slot.
A top U.S. official also clarified that Mr. Obama's endorsement of India for permanent membership in the UNSC during his visit to New Delhi was not a last minute decision, but had been well thought out. It was kept hush-hush, since the endorsement was a big news item, he said.
"I would caution against expecting any kind of breakthrough anytime soon," Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake told journalists in New York and Washington during a digital video press conference.
"I think the President and others have made it clear that this (reform) is going to be a long and complicated process and that we?re committed to a modest expansion both of permanent and non-permanent seats," he said.
The official said the only "real change" Mr. Obama announced was U.S. support to India's permanent seat in the 15-membered wing of the U.N., but ?we have always been clear that this is going to be a long-term and very complicated process."
Mr. Blake, however, asserted that no condition has been imposed on India in lieu of the support for the Security Council berth. "No, there's not conditionality."
He also answered questions on a range of issues including terrorism, Pakistan and China.
Mr. Blake said it is in interest of Pakistan to crack down on terrorist groups operating inside the country.
"The President (Obama) was very clear that Pakistan itself has been the chief victim of international terrorism.
And so it's very much in its own interest to crack down on these groups, which increasingly are operating as a syndicate and it's very difficult to really distinguish between them," he said.
Mr. Blake also said Mr. Obama's enthusiasm for a stronger Indo-U.S. relationship is not to "counterbalance" China's growing influence over Asia.
"I don't think you heard anybody say that in the course of the President's three-day visit (to India), we're looking to counterbalance China in any way," he added.
On nuclear issues, Blake said the U.S. said it considered India as a partner in its global non-proliferation efforts.
"One of the criticisms in the past has been that U.S. sometimes regarded India more as a target than a partner in non-proliferation, I think the steps President (Obama) announced in the course of this visit showed definitely that we now see India as a partner in the global non-proliferation space.
"Not only in terms of the actions, but also in terms of our growing efforts in the nuclear area," he added.
Elaborating on UNSC reforms, he said there are many contenders for permanent seats as India, Japan, Brazil, South Africa and Germany.
"There's the whole question of the veto. And so we need to have a detailed and serious conversation with all of our friends who are competing for these seats," he added.