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India against Iran’s N-ambitions

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has made it clear that there is no question of India supporting Iran's 'nuclear weapons ambitions' writes Varghese K George.

india Updated: Sep 30, 2008 01:10 IST
Varghese K George

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has made it clear on Monday that there is no question of India supporting Iran's “nuclear weapons ambitions”.

This affirmation, loud and clear, of India's views came at a press conference here after the issue of a joint India-EU statement.

Though Singh's comment had a rider that he was merely restating India's position on Iran, it turned out to be stronger than the usual official line.

“We do not support nuclear weapon states emerging in our neighbourhood. Iran is a signatory to the NPT (the non-proliferation treaty).

It is entitled to all that is required to develop a civilian nuclear programme under the treaty. But there are obligations also under the treaty,” said Singh.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso were also present at the press conference.

Earlier, the India-EU joint statement said, “they expressed serious concern over the Iranian nuclear issue and called on Iran to take steps to reestablish confidence in the nature of its nuclear programme, as required by the IAEA Board of Governors.”

However, a certain level of ambiguity has been convenient for the Manmohan Singh government, given the criticism it faced back home on its Iran policy. That's why, during the US leg of Singh's tour, the Indian delegation looked relieved as the Iran issue did not come up for discussion.

President Sarkozy and Singh expressed hope that tomorrow's Indo-French summit will lead to the signing of the civil nuclear treaty. “We hope to have some positive outcome tomorrow (Tuesday),” said Sarkozy.