Former US President George W Bush on Saturday favoured a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) seat for India, saying India has "arrived" as a strong democratic country in the world.
He also wanted India and the US to work together to win the war on terror in Afghanistan to bring peace and stability in the region.
"We must see the possibility of a seat for India in the United Nations Security Council," Bush said, speaking at a seminar attended by politicians, diplomats and other professionals in Delhi hosted by a newspaper.
"India has arrived as a strong democratic country in the world. It is a tolerant, peaceful and multi-religious democracy," he said.
Bush, who visited India in 2006 when the two sides chartered out the road map for further strengthening Indo-US strategic partnership, said the two countries shared the same values of freedom and democracy.
On Afghanistan, he said, "America and India must work together to win the war in Afghanistan. The mission in Afghanistan has been long and difficult and costly. I believe it is necessary for stability and peace."
He wholeheartedly agreed with US President Barack Obama that the US-India relations were not only one of the most important ties in the world, but they should also be one of the best.
But he cautioned that it would not happen automatically and the two nations would have to make important choices, including cooperation in the war in Afghanistan.
Had the blast happened during the busy working hours, the casualties would have been much higher. The explosion at IOC's depot followed by a huge fireball in the storage tanks happened after the office hours. About 1,100 industrial units and offices and a number of educational institutions with hostels are located in this area.
‘‘There are 12 storage tanks in the area. Eleven had near-full tank oil while one was empty,'' said Rajasthan principal secretary, home, Pradeep Sen.
According to Indian Oil sources, storage tanks were equipped with state-of-the-art gadgets. At a time not more than 20 employees are present there. When accident occurred nine employees, including one BPCL employee, was present.
Another factor which limited consequences of the blast was that refilling hours for oil storage tankers to moving trucks is from 8am to 5pm and most of the trucks had already moved out of the area when the explosion occurred,'' said a source in IOC.
Sitapura has become a ghost town with most of the residents having fled their homes. Take the case of Sushila. Sushila, the bride was ready as the groom had arrived for the wedding in Nangal village in Sitapura on Thursday evening. The wedding was about to begin, when suddenly there was an ear-shattering sound, and suddenly everyone was running for their lives.
No one quite knew then that an Indian Oil tanker had just exploded, unleashing mild tremors in Jaipur and igniting a powerful blaze.
Sushila, the bride, could not go far. A chunk of plaster fell on her head, and she fainted. And the groom, a resident of Niwai, not taking any chances, fled.
He was last seen running with his guests in the direction of his village. After sometime, when the girl regained consciousness, her family chased the runaway groom, stopped him and the two exchanged vows by the roadside. Not exactly the kind of wedding Sushila had in mind.
Sitapura and other semi-urban areas near the IOC depot have turned into a ghost town. In a radius of three kilometers of the depot the houses were deserted.
Though engineering students of nearby colleges were shifted to safer places, the residents left on their own.
‘‘Most of the residents have either gone to relatives living in other parts of the city or taken shelter in hotels,'' said Prithvi Vashishtha, a resident of Pratap Nagar.
In a place where residents do not dare to leave their houses unattended for even an hour due to fear of burglaries, the people present were only cops, army personnel, officials from the administration and those who had come to see the devastating fire from nearby villages.
Burglaries have taken place at more than a dozen houses in Vatika area as there is nobody to take care of the houses.
Officials said in nearly every house in the town, doors and window panes were damaged. Electronic items, including TVs, washing machines and refrigerators too were damaged. The administration estimates losses to homes at Rs 5 crore.
Houses close to the depot developed cracks on rooftops. Many said entire houses will have to be razed and reconstructed again.