US should support India for Security Council: US expert

US should support India for Security Council: US expert

Although it would produce no immediate results, the bold declaration would signal New Delhi's growing importance to Washington, and the Obama administration's recognition of the changing global centre of gravity, says a new policy brief by Ashley J. Tellis, senior associate at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

During Manmohan Singh's visit, both countries will likely announce new programmes in areas ranging from agriculture to counter-terrorism, medicine, energy, trade and more.

But Tellis, who advised the previous Bush administration on the landmark India-US civil nuclear deal, identifies two areas where cooperation will be most challenging, and most vital: non-proliferation and climate change.

Contending that India is unlikely to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), he said this would leave a strong possibility that even if the US ratifies the agreement, it will never come into force.

Noting that India's integration into the global non-proliferation regime remains incomplete, Tellis suggested that the US should work to integrate India into global non-proliferation institutions, including the Proliferation Security Initiative, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Australia Group, and the Zangger Committee.

Though it shares American concerns over Iran's nuclear ambitions, India has not been asked to do much about the Iranian programme, he said suggesting "The Obama administration should persuade New Delhi to pressure Tehran to remain engaged in international negotiations, in hopes of achieving a peaceful resolution."

Obama's nuclear security summit next year will be a golden opportunity for the United States and India to collaborate on universal nuclear security standards, Teliis said, "but New Delhi will need to overcome its misplaced anxieties about discussing its nuclear programme in public".

On climate change, Tellis said if Obama focuses on persuading Manmohan Singh to commit to a binding carbon dioxide emissions cap or a multilateral treaty, there will be little hope for cooperation on climate change.

Instead, the US and India should focus on practical initiatives to reduce emissions and improve efficiency in the realms of agriculture, transportation, and infrastructure, he said, suggesting Washington should give India access to priority technologies that could reduce its emissions growth.

India is not yet convinced that it can play an important role in combating climate change, and does not want to jeopardise its economic growth, Tellis said. "But economic progress and sustainable development are compatible, as little-noticed programmes by the Singh government have proven," he added.