[DEBATE] : India: After N-deal, Left Puts Government to Iran Pipeline Test
critical.montages at gmail.com
Mon May 5 00:19:18 BST 2008
The Left in India has gotten great political mileage out of the
question of energy and sovereignty: the India-US nuclear deal and the
Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline deal. -- Yoshie
After N-deal, Left puts government to Iran pipeline test
4 May 2008, 1411 hrs IST,IANS
NEW DELHI: Ahead of the joint meeting on the India-US civil nuclear
deal next week, the Left has said that the Iran-Pakistan-India gas
pipeline's fate will prove how independent India's foreign policy is
under the present dispensation.
"If the pipeline deal goes through, then we will know we have an
independent foreign policy," Communist Party of India leader A B
"If the pipeline deal does not go through, it would mean the American
pressure has won," Bardhan declared, while alluding to American
opposition to the three-nation gas pipeline.
Washington suspects that if the pipeline takes shape, it will bring
India and Iran closer and defeat its larger campaign to isolate Tehran
over its suspected nuclear weapon programme.
Bardhan spoke approvingly about Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad's brief visit to India last week that saw the two sides
give a political push to the much-delayed $7.5 billion pipeline that
will bring Iranian gas to India through Pakistan.
"Oil ministers of India, Pakistan and Iran have been asked to submit
their final reports on the pipeline to their respective leaders,"
Ahmadinejad announced here after talks with Prime Minister Manmohan
The Iranian president struck an upbeat note on the pipeline, saying he
was hopeful of finalising it soon.
The Left parties have accused the Congress-led government of
compromising its independent foreign policy when it voted against
Tehran twice at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2005
The Left, which opposes the India-US nuclear deal, has charged the
government with jeopardizing its ties with Iran for the sake of the
Ahead of Ahmadinejad's visit, the government - making it clear that it
was bowing to the US - told the White House that India did not need
any guidance from any country to conduct its relations with Iran.
New Delhi's rebuff to Washington was meant to underline New Delhi's
commitment to an independent foreign policy and assuage Left parties,
which have made India's ties with Iran an issue, ahead of the UPA-Left
meeting on the nuclear deal May 6.
Bardhan confirmed that the Left parties - the CPI, the Communist Party
of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Forward Bloc and the Revolutionary Socialist
Party (RSP) - have been invited by the government to a meeting of the
joint panel formed last year to address their concerns on the nuclear
"We have been invited for the meeting. Let's see what happens. Our
position is well known," he said.
The Left parties virtually hold veto over the stalled nuclear deal,
which seeks to reopen doors of global civil nuclear commerce after a
gap of three decades. They have approved the government's pact with
the IAEA before the deal can go forward.
"There is little likelihood of any breakthrough at the UPA-Left
meeting," a reliable official source said. "We will continue our
discussions and are trying to address their concerns."
India has to cross two hurdles - finalizing a safeguards pact with the
IAEA and a change in Nuclear Supply Group (NSG) guidelines - before
the deal can become operational after the US Congress ratifies it.
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