India And The US

February 2, 2006

I meant to post this last week, but never got around to it.

Found this very interesting interview with the former Indian Deputy National Security Adviser Satish Chandra concerning the India-US nuclear technology deal Its a three part interview.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Tidbits from the interview:

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the US has been hailed as a great success. Do you agree with that view?

…In a number of areas like democracy, terrorism, agriculture, energy cooperation we will work together. There are very, very wide areas. This is the continuation of policies which India has been pursuing for the last six or seven years.

However, I would like to inject a note of caution even in those areas where commonalities of interests have been found.

For example, we have said that both countries will work together in areas of democracy and terrorism. We have to ask ourselves how much the US has actually done in these areas. In our neighbourhood, we have undemocratic regimes like Pakistan. What has the US done about it?

Or on the issue of terrorism, what have they done? Quite honestly, the US is selective in its application and in handling of these areas of cooperation. …

There is more information on India’s programs in the interview, if you are interested. And here is a collection of articles on the deal and how the US is holding the Iran vote over India’s head.

Since this also involves Iran, here is an article about the Russian-Iranian enrichment agreement.

Russia and Iran have reached agreement on certain points of Russia’s proposal to form a joint venture to enrich uranium on Russian territory for Iran’s nuclear energy program, the Iranian foreign minister said Saturday.

“Russia’s plan is at a stage of serious consideration, and negotiations on it are ongoing. Agreement between Tehran and Moscow has already been reached on certain points of Russia’s proposals, in particular on increasing the number of participants in the project,” Manouchehr Mottaki said.

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Russia, which is building an $800-million power plant in Iran, has defended the country’s right to nuclear energy, but expressed its “disappointment” with Tehran’s decision earlier in January to end a two-year moratorium on nuclear research and resume activity at its nuclear facilities.

Some countries, led by the U.S., suspect Tehran of pursuing a secret weapons program and have been pushing the referral of the Iranian nuclear file to the UN Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic if it is found to have been in breach of its international commitments. Iran has consistently stated that it only wants nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

In a move seen as compromise to diffuse tensions around the situation, Moscow has offered to conduct uranium enrichment for Iran on Russian territory, a proposal which Ali Larijani, the secretary of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, has welcomed.

And an article on India’s feelings about the Russians working with Iran:

Seeking to clear the air after the political storm stirred by United States envoy David C Mulford’s remarks on the Iran nuclear issue, India Friday said it welcomed initiatives from Russia and others to forge a consensus and avoid a confrontation.

“India welcomes all initiatives, including from Russia, which could enable a consensus to be reached on this issue and urges further intensive efforts in that direction,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said in response to a question of the Iran nuclear issue.

He said that during the past two weeks, India has been undertaking active consultations with all key members of the International Atomic Energy Association Board of Governors and with Iran in order to avoid confrontation and to promote the widest possible consensus on handling the Iran nuclear issue.

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Sarna said Iran’s right to develop “peaceful uses of nuclear energy for its development consistent with its international obligations and commitments should be respected,” he said.

One last article. Apparently Indian-Iran relations are not completely positive:

Indian diplomacy will be put to the acid test when the IAEA governing board meets on February 2. In a re-run of last year’s meeting at Vienna, New Delhi will be expected to put its hand up for the US and back its move to refer Iran to the United Nations Security Council.

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If one cuts through the fuzzy logic about historic ties with Iran and the virtues of non-alignment, it is clearly in India’s interest to vote against Iran at the IAEA.

The nuclear deal and improved ties with Washington are likely to bring New Delhi far more benefits than cosying up to Tehran.

Even if that throws into doubt the proposed gas pipeline from Iran to India, which in any case has too many ifs and buts attached to it.

The recent comments by Iranian national security adviser Ali Larijani against India’s nuclear programme has shown that Tehran might only be a fair-weather friend.

There have been earlier instances where Iran has voted against India on nuclear issues. There are also ample indications that Iran’s strategic interests lie in closer ties with China rather than India.

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