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Home > News > Report

India being dragged into Iran N-case

By Anand K Sahay in New Delhi | September 12, 2005 09:30 IST

If Congressman Tom Lantos' insulting language against the Indian external affairs minister was not bad enough, his skipping the facts of the matter in the Iranian nuclear case, into which India has been needlessly dragged bymotivated sections in America, was appalling.

Most pertinently, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on International Relations overlooked the fact that Natwar Singh visited Tehranearlyin September in consultation with European Union-3, ie Britain, Germany and France, which had been seeking to persuade the Iranians on sticking to theirNon-Proliferation Treaty commitments.

The trip was certainly not undertaken to wink at theIranians.

The US administration, as might be expected, were fully aware, knowledgeablesources suggest. They might have done Lantos a favour if they had appropriately briefed him, considering his position. In any event, RonenSen, the Indian ambassador in Washington, has dealt with the blunderingCongressmen adequately.

More to the point, India is understood to have been upfront about informing the US -- since the ruckus in the House Committee on Indo-US civilian nuclearcooperation -- that while it had never aided or abetted Iran's nuclearambitions (the guilty party here is Pakistan) and indeed continually advisedTehran to honour its NPT commitments, New Delhi was bound to heed otherrealities.

Iran is a neighbour with which India has wide-ranging ties that include energy cooperation, access to Central Asia, and cultural affinity extendingway back in time.

Nevertheless, the moot question is: Which way is India likely to turn,should the US lean on it to support, referring Iranian nuclear activities tothe Security Council?

The answer, sources observe, really lies in the tenor of the discussion in the International Atomic Energy Agency Board on September 19. If the boarddecides on a Security Council referral, the Indian position -- like that of several key countries -- is likely to be guided by the language of theresolution and who its movers might be.

Many countries could be wary if the US chooses to move the resolution, givenits record in the Iraq case when Colin Powell, secretary of state then, was hoodwinked into tendering false information on Waepons of Mass Destruction to the Security Council.

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