NEW DELHI — President Obama said Monday that India should rise to the status of holding a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, a dramatic show of respect to the powerful nation he hopes will play a key role in support of U.S. interests around the world.
But the stature would come with a price, Obama told members of parliament, exhorting them to join with the international community in difficult fights ahead.
"Let me suggest that with increased power comes increased responsibility," Obama said in an evening address here. The U.N. exists to preserve peace and security and advance human rights, he said, which the responsibilities of all nations "but especially those that seek to lead in the 21st century."
The pledge is only a step in direction of new international stature for India. The nation likely won't attain permanent council status anytime soon, and the U.S. is backing its addition only as part of a series of council reforms that could be years in the making.
Still, the promise fulfills India's top priority on the agenda of Obama's visit, a three-day series of meetings to build what the White House is now calling an "indispensable partnership."
In his final scheduled day in the country, Obama met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to craft the broad outlines of that partnership, agreeing to collaborate anew in the effort to root out terrorists, reform export controls and combat hunger. The talks touched on sensitive subjects, as Obama unveiled for Singh the findings of a new report on the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks and what the U.S. knew in advance about the American collaborator David Headley.
The report, due to be released publicly as early as Monday, shows that American intelligence community had picked up general suspicions about Headley but that the information didn't point to a specific plot in the works, administration officials said.