‘If Iran raises nuclear issue India will discuss’

April 28th, 2008 - 9:44 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil

New Delhi, April 28 (IANS) India will not initiate a discussion on Iran’s nuclear programme during talks with President Mahmoud AhmadinejadTuesday. Officials pointed out the controversial issue could only be discussed if the Iranian leader raised it. “We will not raise the nuclear issue with Iran,” an official of the external affairs ministry, who declined to be named, said Monday. “But we will not shy away from discussing it if the Iranian president decides to raise it during talks with our leaders,” he added.

The US has been rebuffed by India for suggesting that the issue of Iran’s nuclear programme should be raised during Ahmadinejad’s talks with Indian leaders.

Ahmadinejad is scheduled to make a six-hour stopover in New Delhi Tuesday on his way from Sri Lanka. He was in Pakistan Monday where he held discussions with leaders in Islamabad on bilateral relations and other issues of interest to the two countries. This will be his first visit to India.

The Iranian president is scheduled to call on his Indian counterpart Pratibha Patil at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. But his “substantive” meeting will be with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan will also be present at the meeting between Singh and Ahmadinejad.

The Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline will definitely be one of the issues for discussion. But India will also be keen to get Ahmadinejad’s views on the situation in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

“We have major stakes in Afghanistan and it will be an ideal opportunity for us to get a view from the Iranian President on how the situation there is evolving, especially in the wake of reports about re-grouping by the Taliban,” the official said.

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