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Don't decide Iran's position, India advises US
Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | April 23, 2008 16:51 IST
Last Updated: April 23, 2008 18:36 IST
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday advised the United States to leave the issue of Iran's nuclear programme to the International Atomic Energy Agency and not take up the responsibility of deciding Iran's position.
"Iran should convince the IAEA that their nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes. We are advising Iran that being a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, you should satisfy the IAEA. US should not take up the responsibility to decide Iran's position," he said.
Mukherjee was speaking at the orientation programme, organised by the Lok Sabha Secretariat, for mediapersons covering Parliament proceedings.
Speaking about the recent spate of killings and kidnappings of Indians in Afghanistan, Mukherjee said, "The Taliban does not want India to carry on any construction activity. They want us to go back. We are building a long road from Afghanistan to Iran, we are building hydel projects and have built the Parliament building."
He said that India has made special security arrangements for its citizens in Afganistan, but "would not succumb under the pressure from Taliban, as India has zero tolerance policy towards terrorism. "
When asked about his opinion on the Opposition's demand that the Indo-US nuclear agreement be ratified by Parliament, he said, "I can't sit on value judgment."
He admitted that "there is no consensus" over the deal in Parliament.
"I am trying," Mukherjee added with a smile.
He expressed his satisfaction over the level of debate on the Indo-US nuclear deal in Parliament, where Dr Singh and he had made suo moto statements about the deal.
While discussing the contentious issue of the recent Tibet unrest, Mukherjee was asked if India has changed its policy of opposing colonialism. "There is a subtle distinction between decolonialism and dismemberment of an organised country," was Mukherjee's reply.
He reminded the newspersons that way back in 1949 "India recognised the People's Republic of China and Tibet [Images] was an autonomous region of the PRC."
Since then, said Mukherjee, there has been no change in India's Tibet policy.
"India believes that the Tibet issue has to be resolved through dialogue and not by force. Our policy behind granting asylum to the Dalai Lama [Images] was based on the philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the entire world is one family). We gave our shelter to whoever sought it," he said.
Mukherjee pointed out, "In the 50s and 60s, the media in Parliament used to cover financial, legislature and foreign affairs only. Now, the media's interest is shifting to other issues."
He said that standing committees of the Parliament do not openly debate many issues. But these issues are scrutinised by the members, who provide their inputs about the matter.
When asked about the legality of Parliament resolutions, he said that it is not possible to ignore it because it can attract a no-confidence motion against the government.
Mukherjee criticised the obstruction of the proceedings of Parliament in strong words, saying it was just not acceptable to him.
He also expressed regret that the Indian Parliament didn't have too many light moments, unlike its British counterpart.