IAEA vote: Krishna to clarify Indian stand to Iran

India will use External Affairs Minister S M Krishna`s visit to Iran this week to "further clarify" its position on the vote against Tehran at the summit of the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA.

On Board Special Aircraft: India will use
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna`s visit to Iran this
week to "further clarify" its position on the vote against
Tehran at the summit of the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA.

The visit "will give me an opportunity under the G-15
meetings to have bilateral talks with the Iranian Foreign
Minister and further clarify whatever we have said," Krishna
told reporters on his way back from his two-day visit to

He was asked about the Indian vote against
Iran. India had last year backed an international resolution
against Iran over its nuclear programme while making it clear
that it was opposed to "a renewed punitive approach or
sanctions" against that country. It had favoured dialogue to
resolve the issue.

Asked whether India`s relations with Iran had been
affected by the vote, the Minister said, "...Naturaly Iran was
not pleased with our vote. But we have explained our position
and I hope that Iran would be able to understand and
appreciate our position".

The minister said that the relationship between the
two countries has been very smooth despite the vote issue.
"But that was done under broad policy parameters which
we had drawn for ourselves and we have explained our goal to
Iran because it is a friendly power," he said.

"In the relationship between two countries, there
could be times when on one issue there could be certain
divergence of views.... That should not halt the overall
relationship of friendship between our two countries," Krishna

"We respect Iran`s eagerness to develop nuclear energy
for peaceful purposes just like we did when we started it," he

Asked about the status of the Iran-India gas pipeline,
Krishna said, "That certainly will be one of the aspects of my
discussions with Iran.

"We have always been supportive of the gas pipeline
involving India, Pakistan and Iran and that is part of the
energy security that we are looking forward to... and we hope
that we are able to clinch the issue".

But, the only two things which are delaying the
negotiations "are the cost, the price and the security," he
said, adding unless these issues are effectively resolved, no
progress would be possible. "I hope there is going to be an
earnestness from both sides to complete the negotiations".

The External Affairs Minister will leave for Iran on
May 15 on a bilateral visit and attend the G-15 meeting on May

Krishna to invite Pak FM to India

Krishna will invite his Pakistani
counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi to India during his visit to
Islamabad in July as part of efforts to reduce the "trust
deficit" between the two neighbours.

"I certainly would be extending an invitation to
Pakistani Foreign Minister to visit India," Krishna told
reporters on his way back from a two-day visit to Kazakhstan.

"...These high-level visits will only act as some kind
of a panacea to reduce the trust deficit and we can talk to
each other with more confidence and that certainly will create
the right kind of atmosphere for very productive talks," he

Krishna said the Prime Ministers of the two countries
had met in Thimpu last month on the sidelines of the SAARC
summit and felt that steps were needed to address the trust
deficit between the two countries.

"...So Foreign Minister Qureshi`s telephonic talk to
me was in pursuance to address the trust deficit," he said
referring to his 25-minute conversation on May 11 with the
Pakistani Minister during which it was decided that the two
ministers will meet in Islamabad on July 15.

Asked about his expectations from the talks with
Pakistan, he said, "Let me not speculate on what we expect
Pakistan to do or what Pakistan expects India to do.

"I think the very fact the Foreign Minister is going
to Pakistan is an indication that we would like to have
friendly relationship with Pakistan".

Krishna also said that during his visit to the United
States next month, he would take up the issue of extradition
of Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley to India.

"We have an extradition treaty with United States and
Headley, with whatever evidence we have gathered, is a kingpin
of the Mumbai terror attacks. So this question will be taken
up with the US," he said.