Choose between Iran and US: US lawmakers to India
May 04: Just a day after the conclusion of third round of ‚??fruitful‚?? talks between New Delhi and Washington regarding nuclear deal, US lawmakers have now reiterated ‚??forget Iran or friendship over‚?? this time with much force.
United States has made it clear that they won‚??t take the relation between India and Iran quite lightly. Regarding the letter written by a group of American lawmakers to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on New Delhi's ties with Tehran and its implications to the civilian nuclear deal, US has expressed ignorance but also noted that the Bush administration has already raised the matter with the Indian government.
Few days back in a letter addressed to Indian Prime Minister, senior lawmakers led by Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona and Democrat Barbara Boxer of California stated: ‚??India should publicly declare the intent to refrain from further cooperation with Iran until that nation has completely and verifiably ceased its pursuit of nuclear weapons and its support for international terrorism."
Regarding the letter addressed to Prime Minister, US Deputy spokesman Tom Casey has reportedly said, "We have not seen this letter and I am not sure whether the Indians have had a chance to look at it and react to it.‚??
"In terms of what we say and while what we have discussed with our Indian counterparts, I know that we have raised Congressional concern about their cooperation with Iran and we continue to encourage the Indians to use what influence they have with the Iranians to press them to comply with UN Security Council resolutions and to behave responsibly in a wide variety of areas."
During his recent discussion over civilian nuclear deal between the two countries, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, has clarified that India hasn‚??t breached UNSC resolution on Iran. This was reiterated by US officials by saying that he had some 'fairly strong' views on the subject.
Resentment over Indo-Iran relation have been expressed in rather a harsh letter from Capitol Hill by senior law makers like Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, ranking Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Howard Berman, Gary Ackerman - the Chair of the House Middle East and South Asia subcommittee, and others.
The seriousness of the issue can be judged by this part of the letter: ‚??Regarding Iran, we are deeply concerned by India's increasing co-operation with that country, including the exchange of visits between high-level officials, enhanced military ties, and negotiations of agreements to establish closer economic relations.‚?? They supported their allegation by saying: In March, the commander of the Iranian navy, Rear Admiral Sajjad Koucheki-Badelani, visited India at the invitation of Admiral Sureesh Mehta, the chief of the staff of the Indian Navy, to discuss the strengthening of military relations. A joint defense working group reportedly has been established and will meet later this year in Tehran to pursue broader co-operation in defense, including training Iranian military personnel.
Observers in New Delhi are now very much skeptic about the civilian nuclear deal between the countries as it might get delayed due to the resentment showed by US lawmakers against Indo-Iran ties. What ever might be the fate? One thing is clear that India is heading towards submission and away from independent foreign policy as practiced by New Delhi before the meek cooperation with United States.
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