For New Delhi, Obama Visit is Bitter-Sweet

Commentary | November 15, 2010

Writing for, EWI Vice President W. Pal Sidhu takes a realistic look at what Obama’s visit means for India’s political ambitions.

Sidhu observes that before Obama visited India, it seemed he could do nothing right – and after he visited, nothing wrong. “The reality, as always, lies somewhere in between,” writes Sidhu.

Sidhu points out that although Obama expressed support for India’s permanent membership into the United Nations Security Council, the United States alone cannot guarantee its entry: “China, which has still to fully endorse New Delhi’s case, might use its powerful veto to keep India out.” 

India also has the problem of troublesome neighbors – Afghanistan, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka – whose relationships with India will ultimately work against the country’s permanent membership into the UNSC regardless of U.S. support.  India will need to make a concerted effort to find a balance between its national interests and its international responsibilities.

Overall, U.S.-India relations are looking at a bright future, but India’s role on the UNSC will prove complicated.

“As Oscar Wilde noted, ‘There are only two tragedies in life: ones is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it,’” quotes Sidhu. “India might suffer the latter.”

Click here to read Sidhu's article on