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Pak FO was taken aback by Obama`s UNSC endorsement for India

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - 21:16

Islamabad: Taken by surprise by President
Barack Obama`s endorsement of India`s bid to gain permanent
membership of the UN Security Council, Pakistan Foreign Office
called in the US envoy to convey its concerns over the move.

Though it had an inkling that Obama might make a major
announcement during his visit to India, the Foreign Ministry
was shocked by the announcement, diplomatic sources said
Obama`s remarks welcoming "India as it prepares to
take its seat on the United Nations Security Council," made in
the course of his address to Indian parliament yesterday,
shocked and dismayed the mandarins of the Foreign Office, the
sources told PTI.

The Foreign Office issued a statement shortly after
Obama`s address in which it expressed its opposition to the US
backing for India`s efforts to enter the UN Security Council
while Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir conveyed Islamabad`s
disappointment to American envoy Cameron Munter during a
meeting last night.

Munter was called in to the Foreign Office, where
Bashir conveyed Pakistan`s apprehensions and concerns over the
stand taken by Obama, the sources said.

Pakistan`s military leadership is expected to take up
the same issue with Gen David Patraeus, the commander of US
and allied forces in Afghanistan, when he visits Islamabad on
November 12, the sources said.
Ahead of Obama`s visit to India, the Foreign Office
had received indications from Washington that he might make
some major announcement while in New Delhi.

In an apparent reaction to these indications, the
Foreign Office had said in a statement issued on November 5
that called on the US not to grant any concession to India
that could affect the strategic balance in South Asia.

During a briefing to parliament`s special committee on
Kashmir on Obama`s visit to India, the Foreign Office made it
clear that "anything that militates against the regional
balance in South Asia is counter-productive and not in the
interest of the region and the world".

The Foreign Office also said during that briefing that
it was against Obama expressing any endorsement for India`s
move to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council
as such a move would have "negative effects on issues relating
to peace and security in South Asia".

However, sources said that even at that stage, the
Foreign Office had no knowledge that Obama would make such a
forthright endorsement of India`s bid to gain a seat at the
high table.

Officials of the Foreign Office today sought solace in
interpreting that Obama had not made any commitment to work
with India on the issue of gaining permanent membership of the
Security Council.

They contended the US President had only offered
indirect support to India and that the process of reforming
the Security Council would be complicated and long drawn.

In the statement issued yesterday, the Foreign Office
listed "India`s conduct in relations with its neighbours and
its continued flagrant violations of Security Council
resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir" as reasons why it should not
be given permanent membership of the UN`s most important

Pakistani analysts and policy-makers are also hoping
that China, often described as an "all-weather friend," will
use its veto power to stymie India`s efforts to gain permanent
membership of the Security Council.


First Published: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - 21:16
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