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Former diplomats criticise nuclear pact with the U.S.

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PROS AND CONS: (from left) The former Ambassador to Sweden C.B. Muthamma; the former Permanent Representative to the United Nations N. Krishnan; Veeranna Gowda N.D. Vice President of BMA, and the former Foreign Secretary A.P. Venkateshwaran at a talk on "Indo-US Civilian Nuclear Cooperation Agreement", organised by the Bangalore Management Association in Bangalore on Wednesday. Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.
PROS AND CONS: (from left) The former Ambassador to Sweden C.B. Muthamma; the former Permanent Representative to the United Nations N. Krishnan; Veeranna Gowda N.D. Vice President of BMA, and the former Foreign Secretary A.P. Venkateshwaran at a talk on "Indo-US Civilian Nuclear Cooperation Agreement", organised by the Bangalore Management Association in Bangalore on Wednesday. Photo: Sampath Kumar G.P.

Special Correspondent

`The Government is not sharing all information on its stance on Iran'

What they sayAgreements with the U.S. are short-lived The country practises double standards

Bangalore: A group of former diplomats on Wednesday expressed serious misgivings about the Indo-US agreement on nuclear technology and India's stand on Iran and its nuclear programme.

They were speaking at an interactive meeting arranged by the Bangalore Management Association.

Former Foreign Secretary A.P. Venkateswaran remarked, "The Indo-US agreement is not worth the ink it has been written with. India is not a violent power but it need not become a spineless power either."

`Arm twisting'

"Arm twisting by the U.S. is evident in the way India agreed to separate its civil and defence nuclear programmes. Agreements with the U.S. are short-lived. In the early 1970s, there was an agreement for getting nuclear fuel for the Tarapore atomic power plant, which was abruptly cancelled by the US. That country also practises double standards when it comes to certain countries developing nuclear weapons. Israel and Pakistan are just two glaring examples," Mr. Venkateswaran said.

Wider implications

Former Permanent Indian Representative to the United Nations, N. Krishnan said, "There is a consensus among thinking people that the Government is not sharing all information about the agreement with the U.S. and about the attitude towards Iran."

"Closer strategic relationship with the U.S. is important but this agreement has wider implications. It cannot even be taken that the U.S. will remove all sanctions on sharing nuclear technology," he added.

White Paper

Under the circumstances, one can ask the Government to present a White Paper in Parliament explaining the background to the nuclear agreement and the stand on Iran, but the Prime Minister is yet to make the detailed statement he promised months ago in Parliament, Mr. Krishnan said.

Former Ambassador to Sweden C.B. Muthamma said the Indo-US nuclear agreement contained the implied threat of sanctions if India did not support the U.S. stand on Iran.

"Despite such pre-conditions, there is no guarantee the U.S. Congress will ratify sharing nuclear technology with India. Our nuclear research programmes may be endangered and our defence capability too," she cautioned.

`Give a full picture'

Former ambassador and representative to IAEA P.L. Sinai emphasised that the Government, before implementing conditions of the nuclear agreement with the U.S., should present a full picture to the people.

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