'Shocked' Pak hoping US backing of India's UNSC permanent seat bid merely symbolic

Islamabad, Nov 10 (ANI): Shocked by the US support for India's bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations' Security Council (UNSC), Pakistan seems to be clutching the last straw of hope that Washington's announcement is merely symbolic, given the complexity of the issue.

Senior Pakistani diplomats took heart from US President Barack Obama's phraseology, which they believe did not explicitly endorse India's candidature, the Dawn reported.

During his India trip, Obama had said, "US welcomes India as it prepares to take its seat at the UN Security Council. I look forward to a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member."

According to the paper, an interesting explanation on offer at Pakistan's Foreign Office was that the economic aspect of Obama's visit was very clear, but it definitely "lacked the big bang."

"He probably wanted to create some highlight of his visit to India to overshadow President Bush's trip to New Delhi in 2005 in which the latter had announced a civilian nuclear deal. Supporting India's desire for a permanent UNSC seat was something that could go very well with the people of India, but at the same time did not cost Washington anything. Hence the announcement."

One diplomat emphasised that the "words have been carefully phrased and shouldn't be read as a statement of support. There isn't much effort in that direction."

The White House had earlier assured Pakistan that Obama would not endorse the Indian candidacy, diplomatic sources claimed.

Meanwhile, diplomats at the UN observed that India's quest for a seat was likely to face opposition from China, a permanent member of the council, and from nations and advocacy groups who say India's conduct in the disputed Kashmir region and elsewhere consistently violates key UN resolutions, the paper said.

The Uniting for Consensus group involved in discussions on the expansion of the Security Council has expressed "serious concern" over the United States' endorsement of the Indian bid for a permanent seat in the Security Council and says that it will complicate the reform process, it added.

The UFC group, led by Italy and Pakistan, opposes induction of new permanent members and strongly advocates expansion in the non-permanent category. (ANI)

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