14 January 2006

Dateline Beijing: Despite U.S. pressure, India still committed to Iran pipeline

The American embassy in Delhi issued a demarche before the last round of talks between India, Pakistan and Iran expressing its displeasure at the proposed pipeline project. And Condoleezza Rice has once again stressed the explicit link between the U.S. offer of civilian nuclear cooperation to India and its demand that New Delhi cuts its energy ties with Iran. However, the Indian government appears to be sticking to its own plans. For now, at least.

14 January 2006
The Hindu

'India fully committed to pipeline project'
Aiyar denies media reports of withdrawal

Siddharth Varadarajan

BEIJING: Firmly denying media reports that New Delhi had decided to withdraw from the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project, Petroleum and Natural Gas minister Mani Shankar Aiyar on Friday said the country was "fully committed" to the venture.

"It is completely wrong to suggest that I or anyone else in authority has advocated India's withdrawal from the project." The reports circulating were false.

Factual position

Describing the factual position, the Minister said the three parallel tracks of bilateral negotiations between India and Pakistan, India and Iran and Pakistan and Iran led to a situation where the three countries were now contemplating trilateral discussions. As the February 2005 Cabinet decision, authorising preliminary discussions on the project, envisaged only bilateral working groups, Cabinet clearance was needed for participation in trilateral talks.

India was still reviewing the project structure and various options would be taken to the Cabinet for approval. "While advocating a series of other options, my Ministry is obliged to recall the already authorised option of purchasing Iranian gas at the border without being involved in the project itself," Mr. Aiyar said.

Officials said that as the three countries moved to give concrete shape to the pipeline proposal, the level of opposition from the United States administration had perceptibly increased. Last December, just before the final round of bilateral meetings in New Delhi between India and Pakistan and Iran, senior U.S. Embassy officials visited the Oil Ministry to hand over a demarche opposing the project.

On January 6, seeking to justify the July 18 Indo-U.S. nuclear cooperation agreement to a domestic audience, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice explicitly linked Washington's offer of civilian nuclear cooperation to its insistence that India back off from Iran.

"We can't say to the Indians, on the one hand, `you can't — we'd rather you weren't engaged in energy relations with, for instance, Iran, but by the way, civil nuclear is closed off to you," she said.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh look. It's Pennathur back with his spammed articles. "India's relationship with Beijing is marked by naivete"?

That's not only laughable but a favored propaganda trope of India nationalists--the Bollywood myth of India innocence and naivete. This is the same India that stabbed Iran in the back with the recent IAEA vote, even as it tries to push for a energy pipeline from Iran. Such is the nature of India naivete.

Now India is opportunistically cozying up to the West and America as this rising Axis of Empire wages its phony "war on terrorism" to seize and steal energy resources around the world--all under their Big Lie of promoting "freedom and democracy."

Indeed, this war is an example of how a global power like America and its self-proclaimed democratic allies exploit "other countries' natural resources, spoiling the global environment, making economic deals but looking away from serious government mistreatment of its citizens."

One can start with how the West has carefully "overlooked" India's democratic repression of Kashmir, Gujarat, and Manipur as exemplary of their great concern for human rights.

All the while, American and Indian foreign policy shills cynically posture as budding democrats, liberals, and even enviromentalists (!) to ideologically attack their opponents.

When capitalist nations from America to India, their Big Business think tanks (like the infamous Council on Foreign Relations), and corporate media try to front themselves as environmentalists, you know how Orwellian the Free World has become.

Apparently, India's expansitionist ambitions of creating "Akhand Bharat" die hard, no matter how much it tries to disguise them.