Thursday, September 08, 2005

US criticises India's Iran stand
Members of the United States Committee on International relations on Thursday criticised India's stand on the Iranian nuclear issue.

At a meeting of the committee held to present to the members a broad outline of the Indo-US civilian nuclear energy agreement, several members criticised External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh's reported statement that he is against the Iranian nuclear issue being referred to the Security Council. READ MORE

Tom Lantos, the ranking Democrat on the House International Relations Committee, took exception to what he said was Indian opposition to a key element of US policy toward Iran.

"New Delhi must understand how important their cooperation is and support is for US initiatives to counter the nuclear threat from Iran," said Lantos.

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs R Nicholas Burns said he did not know what Singh had actually said and the context in which he said it but noted that at the last meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, India and the US were on the same side in expressing a desire to ensure that Iran does not become a nuclear power.

"The Administration is not yet ready with legislation to implement the nuclear power agreement," Burns said, adding that progress in implementing it is linked to "reciprocal steps on both sides."

Describing the recent visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Washington as "historic," Burns emphasized its importance in "bringing the United States and India together in strategic partnership."