Special Correspondent

My conscience is clear, says former External Affairs Minister

`India should state that it does not share U.S. views on Iran'`Let the Volcker probe be completed sooner'

NEW DELHI: The Manmohan Singh Government should make it clear that India does not act under pressure on an issue like Iran, former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh said in a television interview on Thursday.

Referring to the reported statement of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that Iran was the "central banker" of terrorism, Mr. Singh stated he would like the Indian Government to say that it did not share Washington's views on Teheran.

On the India-U.S. nuclear deal, Mr. Singh said he had difficulties with the hearings that had been taking place in the American Congress. The Prime Minister, he felt, should clarify the Indian position in the wake of what had been said in the U.S. Congress.

Worried about a possible cap on the production of nuclear fuel, the former Minister said a person like Senator John Kerry had called on India to halt production of fissile material. Mr. Singh said the July 18, 2005 civilian nuclear deal was about nuclear energy, not arms control.

In an interview to CNN-IBN and CNBC, Mr. Singh also said that he and his son, Jagat Singh, would emerge unscathed from the Volcker controversy. He had been giving full cooperation to the Pathak Inquiry Authority. He wanted the inquiry to be completed at the earliest. "My conscience is clear," he stressed.

Asked about his alleged links with businessman Andaleep Sehgal, Mr. Singh said that neither he nor his son, Jagat Singh, had any dealings with Mr. Sehgal.