November 8th, 2010
07:00 AM ET
NEW DELHI, India (CNN) - In another major sign of growing ties between the two nations, President Obama on Monday used a speech before the Indian Parliament to endorse this country's bid for permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council.
Ben Rhodes, a top White House aide, told reporters before the speech that the Obama administration wants to "send as clear a statement as possible" that the U.S. sees India as a "rising player" on the international stage.
Rhodes, a senior staffer on the National Security Council, said the president's endorsement "speaks volumes" about U.S. support for India and the administration will let the key details be "hashed out" by the United Nations itself.
Actually getting India a permanent seat, however, will not be easy. Obama administration officials acknowledged that they and previous administrations have supported Japan, Germany, and Brazil at various times for permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council without any success so far.
Before Monday's announcement was made India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh eluded to the deal during a joint news conference before Obama's speech to parliament in which he highlighted the close cooperation on major issues typically confronted by the UN.
"As states possessing nuclear weapons, we have today put forth a common vision of a world without nuclear weapons, and decided to lead global efforts for non-proliferation and universal and non-discriminatory global nuclear disarmament," Singh said. "This is a historic and bold bilateral initiative. We have also decided to strengthen cooperation to tackle nuclear terrorism, and we welcome US participation in the Global Center for Nuclear Energy Partnership which will be set up in India."
Expectations about the endorsement made headlines all day in the local India media before Obama's speech. Political analysts on local news channels largely said this is a huge moment for India because it firmly puts the country in a position of being a world power, and is a big win for Prime Minister Singh's ruling Congress Party.