Threat will not work with Iran, says India | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Threat will not work with Iran, says India

It was the first time India was attending the Asia-Europe Meeting, as a member, after it was taken on board last year, reports Vijay Dutt.

delhi Updated: May 30, 2007 03:47 IST
Vijay Dutt

Sanctions or use of force will not make Iran fall in line with the international community, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee warned a gathering of Asian and European foreign ministers in Hamburg on Tuesday. It was the first time India was attending the Asia-Europe Meeting, as a member, after it was taken on board last year.

“For those of us who inhabit the same region as Iran and are aware of the richness of its history and culture, and the pride they take in their civilisation, it is axiomatic that threats against or denigration of the country will not work,” Mukherjee said.

His comments came a day after representatives of the United States and the Islamic Republic met face to face to discuss the situation in Iraq.

Earlier at the meet between China, EC and German foreign ministers, it was agreed to increase pressure on Iran to comply to with IAEA guidelines in its nuclear programme and a solution be found through diplomatic means. “Any military action is ruled out.”

Mukherjee’s intervention and “the bilateral meetings on the side were most useful. They and the interventions by the minister opened the ground for better understanding and concerns of India at global and regional levels,” an official spokesman told HT.

On Afghanistan, Mukherjee was scathing in his comments on the spreading “arc of instability,” but stopped short of criticising Pakistan while pointing out the close linkages between the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

“The increase in suicide attacks, kidnappings and most of all the growing strength of the Taliban though Afghanistan's south make us now confront a problem which has acquired threatening proprtions and which calls for a well thought out counter strategy,” he told delegates.

“Afghanistan’s concerns at the incidence of cross-border infiltration have been accompanied by clashes between the border guards of Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he said. This is spreading the “arc of instability.”

Warning against appeasement of this section, Mukherjee urged the international community to remain engaged with reconstruction work in Afghanistan as the only means to counter the growing spread of terrorist forces, which “destroy the very base of the democratic and plural structure that the international community seeks to build there.” India, which has committed $750 million to help the reconstruction of Afghanistan would, he said, stand by its commitment to do what it could in helping projects in place.

In his third intervention on climate change, about which China had pointed out that industrialised countries continued to be guilty of high emission levels, Mukherjee said, “For the developing world, the imperatives of eradication of poverty and the achievement of high growth imply a significant increase in energy consumption.”

vdutt@aol.com