Pakistan’s objection to US backing for UN seat shows trust deficit: Rao

Sunday, November 21, 2010

NEW DELHI - India has voiced its disappointment over Pakistan’s critical remarks on the US support for New Delhi’s candidature for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, saying it was a reflection of trust deficit between the two neighbours.

“Yes, I would say I am disappointed. And I think it is a reflection of the trust deficit between our two countries, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told Karan Thapar in an interview for CNBC TV 18’s India Tonight programme to be broadcast Monday.

She was reacting to a question on Pakistan’s comments to US President Barack Obama’s support for India’s candidature for a seat in the UN Security Council.

“Frankly, I do not want to dignify it with a response. I think where India and Pakistan are concerned - and I believe Pakistan should understand our approach very well - we have reached out to Pakistan on a number of occasions in the recent past, Rao said, according to the pre-broadcast transcript of the interview.

“We have offered dialogue. We have expressed our readiness to discuss all outstanding issues. Frankly, as I said, I do not want to dignify this statement with a response. And I do not think we should be receiving lessons from Pakistan on morality, she said.

The Pakistan Foreign Office had said “endorsement of India’s bid” would add to the complexity of the Council’s reforms process and hoped that America would take a “moral view and not base itself on any temporary expediencies or exigencies of power politics.”

Seeking to dispel the impression among some quarters that Obama’s endorsement was not categorical in the manner the US had endorsed Japan for a UNSC seat, Rao also clarified that it was a political statement; it was a statement with symbolism; it was a statement with substance”.

“What the United States was conveying to the people of India and indeed to the world when President Obama spoke out in support of our candidature was that firstly the United States is prepared to contemplate a moderate expansion of the Security Council; and secondly that it sees a role for India, the participation, the inclusion of India in an expanded Security Council.

“There are always nuances in such statements, I do not deny that. But I think what we need to understand and agree on is that there is an underlying subtext and underlying meaning to what President Obama had to convey to our people when he spoke about our candidature, she said.

In a bid to downplay Obama’s remarks that increased power comes with increased responsibility and his reminder to India to take a firmer stand on human rights violations in Myanmar, Rao said he spoke with candour”.

“But I think between friends and partners we can afford that degree of candour and openness,” she said.

“When it comes to Myanmar, we have been very open ourselves in relaying to the US what it is that drives our relationship with that country today. We share a contiguous border with Myanmar. We have concerns of security.

“We would like to build connectivity because really Southeast Asia begins in north-east India. Therefore, obviously we would like inclusive political change in Myanmar,” Rao said.

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