NEW DELHI — US President Barack Obama backed India for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council Monday, a dramatic diplomatic gesture to his hosts as he wrapped up his first visit to this burgeoning nation.
Obama made the announcement in a speech to India's parliament on the third and final day of his visit. In doing so, he fulfilled what was perhaps India's dearest wish for Obama's trip here. India has been pushing for permanent Security Council membership for years.
"The just and sustainable international order that America seeks includes a United Nations that is efficient, effective, credible and legitimate," Obama said. "That is why I can say today — in the years ahead, I look forward to a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member."
The announcement brought the loudest applause of Obama's speech. But it does not mean that India will join the five permanent Security Council members anytime soon. The US is backing India's membership only in the context of unspecified reforms to the council that could take years to bring about.