M A I N   N E W S

US praises India’s N-programme
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi January 20
The US today showered praise on India for its non-proliferation record and rubbished Iran’s imputation of putting the Iranian and Indian nuclear programme in the same basket.

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs R Nicholas Burns, who concluded his two-day talks with Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran on the implementation of the July 18 Indo-US nuclear agreement, took a dig on the Iranian National Security Adviser Ali Larijani for seeking to put Teheran’s and New Delhi’s nuclear programmes on the same pedestal. “But for Dr. Larijani to assert somehow of some equality between India and Iran by asserting a double standard is quite outrageous and it is quite off the mark,” Mr Burns said in response to a question at a joint press conference with Mr Saran.

Also, Mr Burns made it clear that the US believed that there should be a vote of the IAEA Board of Governors on February 2, and there should be referral to the Security Council because since Iran has crossed so many international red lines, Iran has to know that there is going to be a penalty to be paid for such actions. Mr Burns described Iran as a threat to peace, both in its own region and globally. Iran has overstepped the bounds of international law in seeking to use its facility at Natanz for centrifuge research and enrichment.

Mr Shyam Saran was of the view that as far as India was concerned, the civil nuclear energy cooperation agreement with the US stood on its own merits and that there was a fund of goodwill for India in the US Congress.

During his last visit to Washington, Mr Saran had shared with Mr Burns some preliminary ideas about the kind of separation plan of & civil and military facilities that New Delhi was contemplating. The two sides had also held preliminary discussion about safeguards and the scope of Indo-US cooperation.

Today was the first time when the two countries went into some of the substantive aspects of the July 18 agreement. The two sides also had another meeting of the Joint Working Group on Civil Nuclear Energy Cooperation which enabled them to carry forward their discussions in much greater detail on all aspects of the proposed agreement.

For the first time in six months since the Indo-US nuclear agreement was arrived at, the two sides had a much better understanding of each other’s perspectives. The Indian side also shared with the US its plans for a very significant expansion of its civilian nuclear energy capability over the next few years and what kind of scope of international cooperation that India envisages for meeting its targets in the civil nuclear energy sector.

The Foreign Secretary made a significant remark when he said: “It would be fair to say that I think we have today a much better understanding of the kind of perspectives that the US has with regard to various aspects of this proposed agreement, and we have a much clearer perspective as well. I think we have come to the conclusion that we need to discuss this in greater detail in the coming days and weeks and this particular dialogue between us will be continued.”

A part of the discussions was focused on the forthcoming visit of President Bush which is expected to take place in the first week of March this year.


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 |