Thursday, October 27, 2005
Saran clears the air
Foreign secretary Shyam Saran broke new ground Monday by boldly defending the nuclear deal that India signed with the U.S. on July 18 this year. In a clear indication that the vote against Iran at the IAEA summit in Vienna last month was an espousal of the changed framework of the Indian foreign policy and not a one-off case of bowing to U.S. pressure, he explained that it would be impossible for India to raise the A.Q. Khan issue without simultaneously discouraging the prospect of brinkmanship by any other nation. Iran's nuclear programme remains clandestine and there is no reason to believe that nuclear operations in that country are safe. India should do everything under its power to ensure that the issue is discussed diplomatically. India has rightly buried past shibboleths, namely the distorting farmework of the NPT. It must now stand and be counted as a responsible nuclear power, and that includes casting off of rose-tinted glasses of non-alignment and doing some much-needed plainspeak. Kudos to the present government for breaking the mould.