Obama Backs India's Place on U.N. Security Council

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On his first stop during his 10-day Asia tour, President Obama called for India to be given a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council and pushed for stronger cooperation between the U.S. and India on the economy and terrorism.

"Ours is no ordinary relationship -- the world's two largest democracies, large and growing free market economies," Obama said, adding that the relationship is "the defining partnership of the 21st century."

"I want every Indian citizen to know: The United States of America will not simply be cheering you on from the sidelines," Obama said, addressing India's leaders inside the countries legislative chambers. "We will be right there with you, shoulder to shoulder, because we believe in the promise of India."

India's leaders rolled out the red carpet for the president and first lady Michelle Obama. The couple visited a memorial located at the site where Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated. The two removed their shoes as a sign of respect and also laid a wreath in memory of the Indian leader.

Obama also said Monday that the U.S. is prepared to help reduce tensions between nuclear powers India and Pakistan. The Indian government blames Pakistan for helping orchestrate the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Still, as far away as the president is from the U.S., there are constant reminders of his new post-election political reality. When asked about the elections by an Indian student, he said the midterms were clearly a referendum on the economy.

"When the people are not happy it is their right, obligation, and duty to express their unhappiness much to the regret sometimes of incumbents," Obama said.

Obama told the students he's determined to pursue investments in education, infrastructure, and clean energy. However, he said he'll adjust his plans to work with Republicans.

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Heather Sells

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