Bilateral issues and the political volatility in west Asia and north Africa will be on the agenda of a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on September 23. India considers Iran as a stabilising force in the region.
Singh will also meet presidents of South Sudan and Sri Lanka and the prime ministers of Japan and Nepal during his four-day stay in New York.
“The West Asia, North Africa and Gulf regions have seen major upheavals and there is uncertainty about the shape of things to come in this crucial part of the world in the period ahead. The Palestine question remains unresolved. Terrorism and non-traditional threats to international security such as piracy, are threatening states and the international political and social order,” Singh noted in a statement before he left Delhi.
“This is the time for United Nations to resume its global leadership role,” he said.
Indian position is at variance with that of the United States and NATO, in dealing with the situation in Libya and Syria.
India had abstained from voting on UN resolution 1973 that sanctioned use of force against Mohmmad Gaddafi’s regime in Lybia and it has not joined the chorus for the ouster of president Bashar Assad in Syria, who is battling a wave of popular protest.
An Indian official said India’s assessment of the region’s transition is based on its national interest and India did not subscribe to the doctrine of ‘right to protect’ — a doctrine that gives precedence to civilian rights over the sovereign rights of the state – and regime change.
“We would, however, like each country to handle its own affairs democratically,” the official said.
The proposed $6 billion Indo-Iran gas pipeline is likely to the figure in the bilateral meeting. India is concerned about the security of the pipeline that will have to pass through the violent Baluchistan province of Pakistan.
Sources said nearly $30 billion on investments will be done in projects that will depend on the pipeline and a security failure will be economically way too costly. India and Iran have also not agreed upon the principles of gas pricing.
‘India’s Vietnam plan on track’
New Delhi: China’s protests over Indian companies collaborating with Vietnam in exploring oil in South China sea is not a matter of concern for India, according a senior government sources.
Sources said China has been claiming territorial rights over South China Sea for years now, and India has been carrying on its collaborative projects in the region.
The official said there is nothing new in the recent Chinese objections to oil exploration by Indian companies and does not affect India's plans in the region.