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India to safeguard its interests on Iran: PM

"India will do whatever is best for the nation," said the PM ahead of a crucial vote on Iran's nuke programme.

india Updated: Jan 29, 2006 18:26 IST

India will safeguard its own interests at a crucial vote next week on Iran's nuclear programme, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Sunday.

"India will do whatever is best for our national interests," he told reporters after the oath-taking ceremony by new ministers at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

"We will do everything to safeguard India's interests," the Prime Minister, who dodged questions on the Iran issue, added.

Reacting to remarks on the issue earlier this week by US Ambassador David Mulford, the Prime Minister retorted cryptically: "To err is human."

The IAEA has convened an emergency meeting on February 2 for a vote on whether to refer Iran's nuclear programme to the UN Security Council for Tehran's alleged violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Pressure on New Delhi has been steadily increasing from the US and the European Union (EU) troika - Britain, France and Germany - to support a referral of Tehran's nuclear programme to the Security Council.

Mulford, in an interview to PTI Wednesday, had said: "If it (India) opposes Iran having nuclear weapons, we think they should record it in the vote."

He also said he had conveyed to India that if New Delhi did not vote for the resolution, "the effect on members of the US Congress with regard to (the India-US) civil nuclear initiative will be devastating".

India immediately asserted there was no link between its stand on the Iran nuclear issue and the India-US nuclear deal, and maintained that its position at an IAEA meeting next month will be based on "independent judgment".

Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee termed Mulford's remarks as "outrageous" while Left parties termed them a "serious affront" to India and its sovereignty.

First Published: Jan 29, 2006 17:52 IST