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It told the lawmakers that they would not have to look too hard to justify anything they did in the name of this partnership; that every step, every act either nation took in the direction of the other had its own in-built justification. The lawmakers loved it, and showed it in the fervor and duration of the applause.

And yet, the most significant moment came towards the very end when Singh, in the strongest articulation yet of the case for India to be accorded a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, made his pitch openly to the lawmakers.

'On the reform of the United Nations,' Singh told his audience, 'we believe that it is time to recognize the enormous changes that have occurred since the present structure was established. There must be comprehensive reform of the United Nations to make it more effective and also more representative. The UN Security Council must be restructured as part of the reform process. In this context, you would agree that the voice of the world's largest democracy surely cannot be left unheard on the Security Council when the United Nations is being restructured.'

It was said to a Congress heavily weighted in favor of the Republican Party. It was said in the middle of a week where Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President George Bush have led the administration's effort to clarify that the US would not back India's bid for a SC seat.

And it was the paragraph that took the longest time to deliver -- because every single line, without exception, was punctuated with applause -- the last one drawing the loudest, and longest, of ovations.

In that demonstration of support there lies, perhaps, tea leaves the Indian diplomatic corps, and government, could possibly read.

US Vice President Dick Cheney looks on during Singh's address

Also Read: N-deal will be a tough-sell: US lawmakers

Complete Coverage: History in the Making

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