No price to be paid for UNSC seat: India on Obama’s demands
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Last Updated: Tuesday, November 09, 2010, 22:38
Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: India on Tuesday said President Barack Obama's endorsement of its quest for permanent seat in UN Security Council is an "explicit political" statement of "unequivocal" support, notwithstanding his advice on Iran and Myanmar.

"India has and will always decide its position on issues keeping in mind national interest, the situation in the region or specific strategic and economic compulsions," the sources said, reacting to US President Barack Obama speech to parliamentarians Monday.

Welcoming US decision to lift the ban on export controls relating to dual-use items, New Delhi said removal of Indian entities like ISRO, DRDO and BDL will pave the way for "unimpeded flow" of high-technology from that country.

Playing down Obama's remarks that increased power comes with increased responsibility and India should not shy away from taking hard position against issues like human rights violation in Myanmar, sources said India and the US are not in a bargaining game and there was no price to be paid for being on the high table.

India does not need to be so prickly as it is all about friendship and these are terms of engagement, sources said, adding in friendship one should be able to speak frankly one's mind. They also noted that in diplomacy, everything is not always black and white as there are shades of grey in between.

After US' endorsement, the sources said, the process of discussions on the UN reforms will gather momentum and will soon start. While admitting that Obama's statement was "symbolic", the sources said it was "substantive" also.

The sources disagreed with the view that countries like Germany, Japan and Brazil would react negatively to UNSC endorsement of India by US. They noted that Britain and France were open in their support, China has still not clearly supported India. Germany, in fact, welcomed Obama's call to reform the UN later in the day.

Referring to Pakistan's critical reaction on UNSC issue that the US should have taken a decision on moral grounds and not for temporary expediency, the sources said India dose not need lectures on morality from Islamabad.

On Myanmar, sources said Indian position is propelled by the national and geopolitical interest but maintained that it has spoken out on issues like human rights abuse in public and in discussions with leadership of the military government.

They described it as a "complex issue".

India has a along border of 1600 KM with Myanmar and has security problems of insurgency in the north-east which it has to deal with. Another angle to this is "big neighbour to our north" wants to be an active player in Myanmar.

Myanmar is not a problem which is on the dark side of the moon but a reality existing on the Indian borders which has to be dealt with.

"How can we be brain-dead to the situation on the ground there," the sources said.

On Iran, the sources pointed out India had voted with America in the UN and its position was more or similar to many other members of IAEA.

They recalled that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had two years ago made it clear that while Iran has a right to peaceful use of civil nuclear power, it also had international obligations under IAEA. He had also asserted that India does not want another nuclear power in its neighbourhood.

"At several times in United Nations, our points of view have not coincided with their (US) points of view... But, it is certainly not borne out of an anti-American or anti-western mindset," the sources said.

India also cannot sweep away the long "civilizational" ties that it has with the West Asian country.

They asserted that it was better to be frank about the "compulsions" that India has with US, who will then have a better understanding of the Indian position.

However, officials stated that India had to be also ready to hear criticism of its position when it reaches a certain global leadership position. "If you are talking of a country on a high table, we will have to deal with these kinds of slings," said the sources.

On US move to lift ban on export controls against India, sources said this has "opened the door and turned the key" for the country for access to high-technology. Sources also said process was also on to remove Department of Atomic Energy from the entities list after DRDO, ISRO and BDL.

-Agencies inputs

First Published: Tuesday, November 09, 2010, 22:38

Tag: UNSCObamaIndia
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