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|April 30, 1998||
Narayanan seeks US's 'direct support' for Security Council seat
President K R Narayanan has sought the ''direct support'' of the United States for India's efforts to secure a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Democratic Congressman Frank Pallone, who met the President along with two other members during the latter's stop-over in New York on Tuesday, gave this information in a speech in the US House of Representatives.
He said the President stressed the need for US support for the country to become a permanent member of the Security Council. ''Obviously, a big part of his trip to New York related to the United Nations, and the United Nations is a focal point of India's efforts these days to become a permanent member of the Security Council,'' he added.
Pallone, who is co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, recalled how he and some other Congressmen had sponsored a resolution where ''we express the sense of this Congress that India should be a permanent member of the Security Council, and we are hoping that eventually we can get that resolution.''
Pallone said ''President Narayanan was appreciative of the fact that the United States is pushing for an expanded Security Council, but he would like to see the US directly support India's bid for a seat, as would I.''
What had been happening since the A B Vajpayee government assumed office, he pointed out, had been ''very positive'' in terms of Indo-US relations. ''I believe very strongly that the United States needs to think of India as a priority of its foreign policy and that we need to expand business and trade opportunities with India and, basically, have our countries work together in almost every area, whether it is political, diplomatic, economic or even military,'' he added.
He said, ''I think we are clearly moving in that direction in terms of the developments that have taken place in the last month between our two countries.''
Congressman Pallone said President Narayanan was very appreciative of the trip early this month to New Delhi by US Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson, highlighting the fact the US had begun to view India independent of other South Asian states.
He said Richardson, during his visit, had made it clear that ''India is a priority of US foreign policy and it is a priority viewed independently because of India's status in world affairs.''
He, however, said this approach did not mean that the ambassador and other US officials who accompanied him, did not want to promote a dialogue between India and its neighbours. Quite the contrary, they stressed the need for India and Pakistan to resume their dialogue and try to improve their relations.
In fact, President Narayanan was ''very optimistic'' about the meeting between Prime Minister Vajpayee and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at the SAARC meeting in July, or they might meet earlier than that to ease the tension between their countries, he added.
Congressman Pallone said there was some concern on the part of American businessmen that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government might not be willing to move forward to encourage US investment and trade or might put some barriers to import of American products. These apprehension had been put to rest in the last two weeks, he added.
He said Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, who was in Washington recently in connection with the annual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, had made it quite clear that the Vajpayee government wanted to move forward in terms of US investment, particularly in infrastructure sector, and that the market reforms and privatisation would continue as before.
He said President Narayanan was also of the opinion that ''we have nowhere to go, but forward in terms of increasing our trade and business relationship.''
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