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Indian MPs seek safeguards on US aid to Pak

india Updated: Jun 29, 2009 10:26 IST
Indian MPs seek safeguards on US aid to Pakistan

A group of Indian parliamentarians has told Washington that its "Af-Pak policy must necessarily have an inbuilt safeguard component to prevent the direct and indirect diversion of enormous US aid for potentially anti-India activities by Pakistan."

The Indian concerns were conveyed during three-days of meetings, discussions, and interactions with US politicians, policy analysts, and senior US government officials in New York City and Washington after the third edition of India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Programme concluded last week.

"It was a two way traffic. We wanted a better insight into the US policymakers way of thinking," said Abhishek Singhvi, national spokesperson of the Congress party. "We were able to firmly and unequivocally convey Indian concerns of contemporary intelligence of far reaching significance."

Apart from concern about Pakistan, the parliamentarians "conveyed the huge Indian concern about the continued non-reduction of aggregate carbon emissions from USA" as also the "legitimate Indian concerns regarding the scope for progressive reduction and elimination of agricultural subsidies by developed countries including the US."

The leadership programme "created as always an amazing intra delegation bonding" and provided "an appropriate forum to pause and reflect on vital issues of contemporary significance-something not always possible amidst the hurly burly of parliamentary politics in India," Singhvi said.

Prakash Javadekar, spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party saw further movement in India-US relations. "Definitely there are concerns from climate change, on agricultural subsidies to Af-Pak policy that we were able to convey very clearly and I think it will be noted," he said.

Anurag Singh Thakur, Bharatiya Janata Party member from Himachal Pradesh, said the Yale programme would help all the parliamentarians. "It'll widen our horizons, bring in more confidence and more knowledge and help us do better once we go back."

Priya Dutt, Congress member of the Lok Sabha, thought the whole Yale programme was "fantastic". With best professors from Yale speaking on various issues "it opened our minds so much and it was a great learning experience," she said.

On India-US relationship, she said despite concerns about some issues: "We still got a sense of a relationship which has built into something very strong. India is perceived as a very strong progressive nation."

"We spoke about how we can synergise in various fields - education and health research and development-and how the two countries can really complement in those fields," Dutt said. "I feel the India-US relationship is something which is just going to grow from here on."

"In many ways this programme is fantastic especially for policy makers and politicians in a way to broaden your horizon," Dutt said.

More than 30 members of India's parliament have participated in the programme since it was launched in 2007 in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the India-US Forum of Parliamentarians.