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Nuke deal outcome won't affect ties with US: Saran

There are other elements of the bilateral relationship that will move forward, asserts the Foreign Secretary.

india Updated: May 26, 2006 10:11 IST
HS Rao (PTI)
HS Rao (PTI)

In a frank assessment of the Indo-US nuclear agreement, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran has asserted that even if the deal does not go through, there will be other elements of the bilateral relationship, which will move forward because there is certain logic behind it.

"If you look at the Indo-US Joint Statement, there is of course focus on the civil nuclear deal. There are many other very important bilateral initiatives such as knowledge initiative, initiative on agriculture, science and technology cooperation. So there are a number of very important elements in the emerging Indo-US relations," he said.

"But the fact is that the Indo-US Nuclear agreement deals with an issue which is very sensitive in nature and attracts a great deal of attention and therefore, whether it goes through or not, will have an impact, at least, on our abilities to take forward many other aspects of the Indo-US relations," he said addressing the International Institute for Strategic Studies on "India and the Emerging World Order".

Saran, who left on Friday morning for New Delhi at the end of his two-day visit in London after talks with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, said: "I have no doubt that even if the deal does not go through, there will be other elements of our relationship which will go forward because there is a certain logic behind it."

However, Saran said "we are dealing with politics, we are dealing with perceptions and perceptions would be, whether we like it or not, failure to take this through somehow means there is a setback in terms of strategic relationship."  

Referring to close bilateral relations between the two countries, the Foreign Secretary said there was a feeling in both countries that the best is yet to come.

"When we talk of the dramatic transformation in our relationship with the US, the centrepiece, of course, is the Indo-US nuclear deal but its significance goes beyond mere bilateral relations. It is also an important centrepiece in our strategy for reassuring energy security for India and that has global implications," Saran said.

He said India is also emerging as an increasingly indispensable partner because of its sustained economic reform and consistent growth. "We see the world of tomorrow as being increasingly knowledge-based and technology driven and we believe that we are well placed to emerge in the front rank. Today's excellence in IT for example is a pointer."

Emphasising the need for greater regional cooperation, Saran said India's free trade agreement with Sri Lanka and economic partnership with that country had benefited both.

He said Bhutan has leveraged its position as a major supplier of energy to India and it has helped the Kingdom with the highest per capita income in South Asia. "This has a lesson for Nepal which has a large energy potential - Hydel power," he said.

"We believe that India as a mature and stable democracy, has an increasingly important economic powerhouse and it will have the capabilities to contribute to a more harmonized and increasingly global and multi-polar world. Therefore we see our emergence as a major and positive development in international business."

Asked whether India is keen to ensure emergence of democracy in its neighbourhood, Saran said: "As a functioning democracy ourselves naturally we feel very comfortable and enthused if there are more democracies emerging. Our policy is very clear.  

However, he said, "we don't believe in the export of ideology. We don't believe in the imposition of democracy or democratic values on any country. But if there is any interest in any country about our democratic institutions or in the institutions such as EC, Human Rights Commission which India built over a period of time or the strong judicial system or training programme for Parliamentarians, we are very ready to share these with any country".

"This is the spirit in which we have contributed to the UN Democracy Fund and we have said that our contribution to the UN Democracy Fund could be used by recipient countries to gain some benefit of our experience. We don't believe in the export of democracy to any country," he added.  

First Published: May 25, 2006 17:37 IST

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