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India not to cross ‘red lines’, says Menon
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 26
India is staying engaged in its own way with the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), to bring about adjustment of NSG guidelines to enable full civil nuclear cooperation and in this endeavour the United States too is contributing its bit.

This is the response of the Ministry of External Affairs to the Standing Committee on External Affairs whose report was tabled in the Parliament today.

Importantly, the report quotes Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon as telling the Standing Committee that India will not cross the “red lines” drawn by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament last year.

The two statements assume significance in view of Menon’s visit to Washington early next week for discussing the Indo-US nuclear deal, currently in a state of limbo. The inertia on the subject can be gauged by the fact that the two sides are still engaged in talks as the negotiations on a bilateral 123 agreement are yet to begin.

The report of the Standing Committee, chaired by Lok Sabha MP Laxminarayan Pandey, quotes Menon as saying: “Whatever we do with the US will not affect our nuclear strategic programme; secondly, it will not in any way involve our three indigenous civil nuclear energy programmes. There we will use thorium in our breeder reactors to produce energy for our own growth. Thirdly, I think we would respect and implement what the Prime Minister said to the Parliament on the 17th of August last year when he laid down the red lines we will not cross which I think command broad support across the political spectrum.”

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