The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Indian global balancing act

New Delhi, May 10: India will explore new areas of co-operation with the US in the forthcoming visit of the Prime Minister to Washington DC, while also engaging other world powers ' especially Russia and China ' in a trilateral cooperation to challenge the unipolar world order.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, talking to reporters on Air-India One on its way back from Moscow, seemed a bit disappointed with the US that it had not supported India’s candidature for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

While pointing out that there were no 'bilateral tensions in our relationship', the Prime Minister nonetheless felt that given the importance of the US in world affairs, it was 'very important' for Washington to be 'supportive of India’s aspirations'.

The US supports Japan’s candidature for a place in an expanded UN Security Council but has kept mum about India’s case.

Whether Singh would be able to change US perceptions in the run-up the UN Millennium Conference later this year remains to be seen. However, the Prime Minister suggested that he expected to take up this issue during his visit to Washington DC at the invitation of President George W. Bush later this summer.

Arguing that India’s relations with the US were very good and that India needed America’s support for its candidature to the Security Council, he said that his meeting with Bush 'would be an attempt on our part to find out new areas where our two countries can work together'.

About India seeking veto power in the expanded Security Council, Singh said: 'There is no use counting your chickens before they are hatched.'

The Prime Minister explained the difficulties, saying 'international relations beyond a certain point are power relations' and that the uneven distribution of power internationally needed to be reckoned with. He said that India would try for a permanent seat while recognising 'the hurdles in the way'.

The Prime Minister also emphasised the 'immense possibilities of cooperation' between India, Russia and China.

The foreign ministers of the three countries are to meet on June 2 in Vladivostok in Russia for their first formal meeting, even though informal interactions have taken place on the sidelines of international meets.

The three countries believe that their trilateral cooperation would help democratise international relations and safeguard world peace, security and stability.

'My government’s approach is to enlarge the concentric circles in which we walk together with like-minded countries to take advantage of the forces unleashed by globalisation. Therefore, the meeting at the foreign ministers’ level is a positive step,' Singh said.

He said that energy cooperation could be one of the items on the agenda for the trilateral meet.

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