M A I N   N E W S

PM rules out redrawing of boundaries
Says India must have veto right in Security Council
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 21
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today for the first time outlined in Parliament the broad contours of his seven-month-old government’s foreign policy wherein he made it clear that India must have veto rights as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

In an elaborate suo motu statement in both Houses of Parliament on foreign policy-related issues, the Prime Minister declared that his government’s foreign policy objective was to focus on the centrality of national interests in the conduct of external relations and pursuit of economic interests.

“We have taken important initiatives, keeping in mind the imperative of retaining our freedom of options, remaining alive to our concerns. Our efforts have contributed to making the international environment for India’s development more secure. I am confident that our foreign interlocutors have a better appreciation of our position on issues of importance to India. We will continue to remain engaged in this endeavour.”

On his meeting with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in New York in September this year, the Prime Minister said he conveyed his government’s sincere desire to pursue the dialogue with Pakistan systematically and on a sustained basis. “I emphasised to President Musharraf the criticality of his fulfilling the reassurance of January 6, 2004, that any territory under Pakistan’s control would not be used to support terrorism in any manner.”

The PM said he and General Musharraf agreed that confidence-building measures (CBMs) of all categories under discussion between the two governments should be implemented.

“We agreed that possible options for a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the issue of J&K should be explored in a sincere spirit and a purposeful manner. I made it clear to President Musharraf that while we are willing to look at various options, we would not agree to any redrawing of boundaries, or another partition of the country.”

On the possibility of a gas pipeline via Pakistan to India, the Prime Minister said the two sides felt that such a project would have considerable mutual benefits.

“We intend to pursue the path of cooperation and dialogue with Pakistan in an atmosphere free of mistrust and terror, building upon the support that we have received from the people of the two countries, and without compromising upon our basic national interests.”

The Opposition tried to put the Prime Minister on the mat in the Rajya Sabha when former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha asked him to clarify on ambiguity over the country’s nuclear policy and whether India was willing to become UNSC Permanent Member without veto powers. Clarifications can be put in the Upper House only and not in the Lok Sabha.

The PM said: “There is no ambiguity in our stand. There is no confusion... We do not believe there should be any discrimination in the Security Council (on veto rights).”

On the nuclear-related clarification, Dr Manmohan Singh said: “There is no ambiguity about our nuclear policy. India is a nuclear weapon state and we are a responsible nuclear power.”

A “Group of Four” Summit — comprising Brazil, Germany, India and Japan, the four aspirants for an expanded UNSC seat — was held on September 21, 2004 in New York, the PM pointed out. This signified India’s intentions to participate in the UN reform process and make the Security Council more representative and effective.

On Russian President Vladimir Putin’s India visit, the Prime Minister glossed over the controversy created by media over Mr Putin’s reported “no” to the idea of India becoming a Permanent Member of the UNSC without veto power.

He, however, mentioned that India received a categorical assurance that recurrent issues that had arisen with the spares will be dealt with. “We in turn agreed to support Russia’s accession to the WTO and to treat Russia as a Market Economy for purposes of anti-dumping investigations, to which the Russian side attaches great importance.” The PM said India’s relations with the UK would receive special focus in 2005 when the UK will hold the Chairmanship of the G-8. It will also hold the Presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2005 when India expects to hold the sixth India-EU Summit in New Delhi.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |