By Arun Kumar
Washington, Nov 16 (IANS) The US has sought to temper India's hopes of gaining a place on the international high table saying that while Washington is committed to it, UN reform is going to be a long and complicated process.
The only "real change" in US stand was President Barack Obama's endorsement of India's bid for permanent membership of the UN Security Council, but "we have always been clear that this is going to be a long-term and very complicated process", a senior official said Monday.
"I would caution against expecting any kind of breakthrough anytime soon," Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake told foreign media. But "we're committed to a modest expansion both of permanent and non-permanent seats".
The official said "no, there's no conditionality" attached to US support for India, but noted Obama had mentioned with a permanent membership also comes "the burden of responsibility" to take on some of the "more challenging aspects of managing the international system" that includes issues like Myanmar and Iran.
At the State Department, spokesman P.J. Crowley made a similar point. "There are five permanent members of the Security Council. Eventually, consensus will have to be reached among the five," he said.
"But we recognise that this is a process that is going to take some time. The United States cannot snap its finger and dictate Security Council reform," Crowley said asserting Obama's was not an empty promise. "We have committed a vote to India as part of this process."
Referring to easing of US export controls on dual use high technology items, Blake said said it no longer considers India as a target in its global non-proliferation efforts.
"One of the criticisms in the past has been that US sometimes regarded India more as a target than a partner in non-proliferation," he said. But the steps announced by Obama "showed definitely that we now see India as a partner in the global non-proliferation space".
Denying that India's not signing the military interoperability agreements during the India trip was a setback to Indo-US relationship, Blake said: "We'll continue to work on those, but we're not pressuring India."
"When India feels the time is right to negotiate and finalise these agreements, that will be fine with us," he said while noting that as India-US defence contracts multiply "India will see it as in its own interest to sign these agreements".