Saran's discussions with Philip Zelikow, senior adviser to secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and a key player in US policy on South Asia, and Nicholas Burns, undersecretary of state for political affairs, clarified the forward-looking US position, giving hope although not yet salvation. President George Bush may well articulate US support for India's bid during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit in July, say key officials. Shirin Tahir-Kheli, adviser to Rice on UN reform, will visit India in June to discuss the issue, making New Delhi the first of a very few stops. The US would like to push widespread reforms within the UN and not just the expansion of the UNSC. The challenge for India is to demonstrate that it is not merely interested in a permanent seat but holds a larger vision, and engage Washington in intensive discussions.
Delhi was concerned about a statement by Tahir-Kheli, a Pakistani American, who told the UN General Assembly in April that the US supports UNSC reform on the basis of "broad consensus and without artificial deadlines". This was taken by many as a recipe for inaction and a position too close to China's wrecking ball currently trying to demolish the reform campaign. Last week, senior US officials made it clear they were not with China in the sabotage mission. Washington is not yet actively campaigning for or against any country but its leanings are fairly clear. It supports Japan, favours India, opposes Germany and is indifferent to Brazil.