WHEN Nicholas Burns, Under Secretary for Political Affairs in the US State Department, visited India last week, Indians had the barely suppressed excitement of a suitor waiting for an "I do" from a comely bride. This was because Burns discussed the US approach to India’s candidacy for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. India’s ambitions took a step closer to reality after the US let it be known that it wants only two more new permanent members besides, of course, Japan, and wants to freeze the membership when it comes to the likes of Germany. India thinks, for valid reasons, that it fits the bill for having "a flourishing democracy" as described by none other than President George W. Bush, and has been involved with the UN right from the beginning, particularly two score peacekeeping operations across the world. What has really mattered — and most Indians, barring the leftist ideologues and those still living in the Cold War era, accept this — is that the US has come to recognise India as a regional power. Not only that, the US has come to depend upon its solidarity and support on a number of issues. This is, of course, because American national interests coincide with India’s on many counts.