N-deal will not impact independent foreign policy: PMO

July 2nd, 2008 - 11:57 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) Trying to enlist more support, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government Wednesday fell back on India’s “time-honoured” and “civilizational” links with Iran to prove that it would not lose its sovereign foreign policy if it signed the nuclear deal with the US. In a late night statement issued Wednesday, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said, “India’s relations with Iran were time-honoured and civilizational in nature and no outside influence or pressure could force India to deviate from this path.”

It added that the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline “epitomizes the nature and importance of the relationship” between New Delhi and Teheran.

National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan - who Tuesday visited Iran and met President Mahamoud Ahmadinejad - held a meeting with Samajwadi Party leaders Amar Singh and Ram Gopal Yadav earlier in the day on the proposed nuclear deal.

The PMO statement went on to provide details about the queries raised by the Samajwadi Party leaders and the clarifications given by Narayanan.

“The nuclear deal did not and would not affect the autonomy of decision making in regard to foreign affairs in any manner,” Narayanan told the two leaders during their meeting.

The national security advisor also clarified that the nuclear deal would not in a way affect India’s strategic programme.

According to the statement, the national security advisor also made it clear that “India always followed an independent foreign policy and under no circumstances would this position undergo a change, the least of all in the context of the civil nuclear cooperation agreement.”

The detailed statement issued by the PMO on the meeting between Narayanan and the Samajwadi Party leaders comes in the wake of a suggestion by Amar Singh that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should explain the nuclear deal to the people of India.

“India is not under any pressure nor can it be pressurized to follow a course of action that is not dictated by our enlightened self-interest,” the statement added.

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