The stand taken by previous three US administrations of George W Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump has moved into limbo as the new Biden-Harris Administration's nominee for Permanent Representative at the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield has remained elusive on the issue during the Senate panel hearing.

Thomas-Greenfield, a veteran diplomat with more than 35 years in US foreign service, has refused to commit to the contentious issue of support for India and other nations to be permanent members of the UN Security Council.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield
Linda Thomas-GreenfieldWhite House

She was asked by Senator Jeff Merkley from Oregon during the confirmation hearing whether India, Germany, Japan, should be permanent members of the UN Security Council, she replied:

I think there have been some discussions about them being members of the Security Council and there are some strong arguments for that... But I also know that there are others who disagree with their regions that they should be the representative of their region. That, too, is an ongoing discussion.

The so-called Coffee Club or United for Consensus comprising countries like Italy, Pakistan, Mexico and Egypt, the Coffee Club has opposed the permanent membership bid of India, Japan, Germany and Brazil.

Biden's campaign promise

However, President Biden in his poll campaign last year had reiterated the promise of supporting India as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Though India is currently UN non-permanent member for a two-year term, it is for two years and does not wield veto powers as other permanent members do.

"Recognising India's growing role on the world stage, the Obama-Biden Administration formally declared US support for India's membership in a reformed and expanded United Nations Security Council," stated the document of Biden Campaign released in August 2020 on Indian-Americans.

However, Thomas-Greenfield agreed on the need for reforms in the UN Security Council. "I think there is general agreement across the board that reforms are needed in the Security Council. What those reforms will be and how they will be implemented, I think remains to be decided," she said.