India does not back Iran’s nuclear ambitions: Manmohan

September 29th, 2008 - 7:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghMarseilles, Sep 29 (IANS) As the European Union sought India’s support in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday made it clear that there was no question of New Delhi supporting Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. “We do not support nuclear weapon states emerging in our region. There is no question of our supporting nuclear ambitions of Iran,” Manmohan Singh told reporters at a joint press interaction with French President Nicolas Sarkozy after the end of the day-long India-EU summit.

Underlining India’s oft-repeated position on the Iranian nuclear programme, Manmohan Singh, however, defended Tehran’s right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy within the parameters of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

“Iran is a signatory to the NPT. As a signatory to the NPT, it is entitled to all that is needed to develop its civilian nuclear civilian programme, but it must do so in tune with its obligations under the NPT,” Manmohan Singh stressed in his first public remarks on this issue after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited New Delhi this year.

The Iranian nuclear issue figured prominently in discussions between Manmohan Singh and the EU leaders, including Sarkozy, who is also the chair of the EU, Jose Manuel Barroso and Javier Solana.

With the Senate poised to approve the India-US nuclear deal, Manmohan Singh’s unambiguous articulation of India’s position on the Iranian issue is sure to be appreciated in administrative and Congressional circles in Washington.

The EU leaders had sought India’s help in dissuading Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability.

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