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Neighbourhood watch

PRIME MINISTER Manmohan Singh cited security concerns arising from nuclear proliferation in the neighbourhood as the key factor that motivated India to vote for a resolution reporting Iran?s nuclear issue to the UN Security Council.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2006 01:42 IST

This was deciding factor: PM

PRIME MINISTER Manmohan Singh cited security concerns arising from nuclear proliferation in the neighbourhood as the key factor that motivated India to vote for a resolution reporting Iran’s nuclear issue to the UN Security Council.

Seeking to stem the tide of opposition to the vote from Left allies, the PM said the resolution not only had the support of all permanent members of the UN Security Council but also of NAM and developing countries like Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Ghana, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Yemen. Assuring Lok Sabha that India would “do what we can to nurture bilateral ties”, he said: “We are committed to the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.” The petroleum ministers of India, Pakistan and Iran are due to meet in Tehran in March to take the process ahead.

While India has consistently sought to promote a resolution of Iran’s nuclear issue through dialogue, “security concerns arising from proliferation activities in our extended neighbourhood” shaped India’s position at the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The resolution, he said, “calls for continued diplomatic efforts, including through exploration of the option provided by Russia, which we have supported”.

Making a statement on Friday, the PM said successive reports of the IAEA have noted that while Iran's cooperation has resulted in “clarifying a number of questions”, there remain “many unresolved questions” on key issues. “These include the use of centrifuges imported from third countries and designs relating to fabrication of metallic hemispheres.” That the “source of such clandestine proliferation of sensitive technologies lies in our own neighbourhood, details of which have emerged from successive IAEA reports”, was cause for concern, he said.

“India cannot afford to turn a blind eye to security implications of such proliferation activities,” the Prime Minister said, outlining the need for India to vote for the resolution to report Iran to the UNSC. “India’s vote does not, in an way, detract us from the traditionally close and friendly relations we are privileged to enjoy with Iran,” he added.