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India won't be part of US missile defence arrangement
Anil K Joseph in Harbin, China | October 24, 2007 19:23 IST
India on Wednesday ruled out being part of the controversial US-led missile defence system, opposed by countries like Russia [Images] and China.
"India does not take part in such military arrangement. Therefore the question of our participation does not arise," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said during a joint press conference in Harbin, China, at the conclusion of the third standalone trilateral meeting of Foreign Ministers of India, China and Russia.
Mukherjee also noted that the issue of missile defence did not come up for discussions at the trilateral meeting he had with his Chinese and Russian counterparts, Yang Jiechi and Sergei Lavrov, respectively.
"It was not discussed in our trilateral forum. It was not our agenda and we did not consider it necessary to discuss it," he said.
Lavrov, commenting on the issue noted that there is a lot of talk about various possible modalities and proposals.
"I want to tell you that during the recent visit to Moscow [Images] by the US Secretary of States (Condoleezza Rice) and US Defence Secretary (Robert Gates), the issue of missile defence system was discussed at length and in great detail," he said.
"Our colleagues from the US have promised to transmit their proposals to us on paper and we are waiting for those proposals to arrive," the Russian Foreign Minister said.
At the same time, Chinese Foreign Minister, Yang noted that the US push for missile defence system has attracted wide attention of the international community.
"Our stance on the issue of missile defence system is consistent and clear," he said.
The missile defence system not only fails to address the security concerns of the concerned countries but it may also possibly damage global strategic balance and stability. It is also not conducive to enhance the mutual trust amongst the countries, Yang asserted.
He noted that the world is becoming more and more interconnected.
"We hope the countries concerned will establish and put into practice the new approach to security featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation," he said.
China is concerned by the cooperation between Japan [Images] and the US in jointly developing an advanced missile defence system could threaten its security. Washington and Tokyo have stepped up joint missile defence programmes since North Korea's nuclear test in October last year.
Russia is concerned that US-led missile defence initiatives in Europe and Asia are based on an erroneous assessment of the threat posed by Iran, Lavrov had said in Tokyo on Tuesday.
The issue of missile defence initiative cropped up at the joint press conference since the United States and Russian negotiators ended talks in Moscow on Friday over issues that have chilled relations, including a missile defence system the US wants to build in Eastern Europe.
Washington and Moscow disagree over when Iran's missile programme would reach a stage where it could threaten all of Europe and the United States. The Russians say that is a far-distant prospect while the Americans say it is coming soon.