All states have right to peaceful uses of n-energy: Pranab

July 29th, 2008 - 10:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran, July 29 (IANS) India’s External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday defended Iran’s right to “peaceful uses of nuclear technology” at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) ministerial conference here, and stressed that the two countries shared “traditional warm and friendly” relations. “We also firmly believe that all states have the right to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy in accordance with their obligations,” Mukherjee said.

“In this context, the advantage of nuclear power as a clean and affordable source of energy are well-known,” he added.

Iran claims its nuclear programme is meant only for peaceful purposes and that as a member of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) it had every right to pursue such a programme. But the US and a number of Western countries fear that Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear bombs.

“Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation in all its aspects have been a long-standing priority for our movement,” the minister said. He pointed out that India’s commitment to “universal, non-discriminatory and verifiable nuclear disarmament” was consistent and firm.

Mukherjee added: “We share the belief of our friends in NAM that all states should commit to early negotiations on the complete and verifiable elimination of nuclear weapons.”

The minister’s remarks, while supportive of the Iranian stand could also be seen as aimed at many sceptics in the NAM, who feel that India might have diluted its stand on disarmament and non-proliferation because of its keenness to get the India-US nuclear deal through.

Mukherjee not only supported the Iranian stand on nuclear energy but also referred to Tehran as one of New Delhi’s old friends.

Complementing Iranian President Mohamoud Ahmedinejad for his “inspiring inaugural address”, Mukherjee pointed to the “civilizational affinities” and “traditional warm and friendly” relations between India and Iran.

Referring to the historic role NAM has played in maintaining peace among nations, Mukherjee said: “We can be justly proud of our movement’s work for seeking to usher in a more peaceful and just world order and in promoting friendship among nations.”

Arguing on the relevance of the NAM and re-affirming India’s commitment to it, the minister said: “Today, when the world is undergoing rapid transformation, the role of the NAM is as vital as it was in the decades that followed its founding in 1961. With 116 members, the Movement represents more than half the world’s people and almost two-thirds of the UN membership.”

“It provides an independent point of view on international issues, and functions as a platform from which its members collectively address key issues of common concern,” he added.

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