By Arun Kumar
Washington, Sep 17 (IANS) India's ambassador to the US, Meera Shankar, has expressed the hope that US President Barack Obama's visit would propel India towards a permanent seat in the UN Security Council to realise the full potential of their strategic partnership.
India hoped that Obama's visit "would prove to be a major step forward in not only consolidating what our two democracies have jointly achieved but also for working together in areas where we are yet to see concrete progress, including genuine reform of international institutions with India given its due place", she said at the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs Wednesday.
"The growing support for a permanent seat for India in the UN Security Council would no doubt go a long way in enabling India to play its role to its full potential and in realising the idea of India-US relations being a key strategic partnership of the 21st century," Shankar said.
In an address on "India and the United States - Strategic Partners", she said there was "a very broad canvas before us to strengthen our strategic partnership as "both our governments are committed to build on the excellent foundations that we have created to fulfil our common objective of creating a partnership that not only benefits the people of both countries, but also responds to the global challenges of our times".
"Now, as yet another major milestone in our rapidly transforming strategic partnership, we keenly look forward to the visit of President Obama in November this year," Shankar said noting that the State visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last year "focused on going beyond just the bilateral dimensions of this relationship to forge a global partnership".
"As we look to the future we hope first to substantially expand our economic ties and help create jobs and prosperity in both countries," she said. "In part this will be driven by global economic recovery and the relative health and competitiveness of the Indian and US economies."
Noting that the Indian economy will continue to be a huge opportunity with investments in infrastructure alone over the next decade requiring an investment of a trillion dollars, Shankar cautioned against protectionist trends.
"It is important in this context not to allow the voices of protectionism to constrain the potential for positive engagement and for both countries to benefit from the enormous opportunities that lie ahead," she said.