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Obama backs India for UN top table

US President Barack Obama has endorsed India's bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, hoping to elevate the nation of a billion people to "its rightful place in the world" alongside an assertive China.

Mr Obama's declaration, delivered to the pounding applause of India's MPs, spoke to a mission broader than the make-up of one global institution.

By spending three packed days in India, announcing trade deals, dismissing job-outsourcing gripes and admonishing India's rival Pakistan, Mr Obama went all in for an ally whose support he hopes to bank on for years.

"I want every Indian citizen to know: The US of America will not simply be cheering you on from the sidelines," Mr Obama told the MPs in the parliament chamber of the capital city. "We will be right there with you, shoulder to shoulder, because we believe in the promise of India."

To Mr Obama, that promise entails shaking up the world order by giving more voice to developing countries that offer lucrative markets for US products and potential help to counter terrorism and a warming planet.

India fits Mr Obama's agenda perfectly because it is the world's largest democracy and sits in the heart of a pivotal, troublesome region.

The diplomacy in India also gave Mr Obama a chance to reassert himself on the global stage, far from Washington, in the aftermath of last week's humbling congressional elections.

But Pakistan criticised the president's statement, accusing India of "blatant violations" of UN resolutions and calling on the US to "take a moral view and not base itself on any temporary expediency or exigencies of power politics".

China has also long objected to India's proposed ascension to the council.

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