New York, Sept. 16: India is being drawn into trilateral diplomacy on America’s request to defuse an emerging global crisis over Iran’s nuclear programme.
Winding up his four-day visit to New York, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh confirmed here today that he had discussed the Iranian crisis with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Hu Jintao in the last two days.
Lest the Left parties should go ballistic again, Singh prefaced his confirmation of India’s diplomatic efforts with an elaborate explanation that both Russia and China ' along with India ' are members of the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is currently grappling with Iran’s confrontation with the Bush administration.
The US is asking the Iranians to “live up to their international obligations” to suspend uranium conversion and enrichment, a possible key step towards making material for a nuclear weapon.
Singh said the same thing. He added that there were three and a half to four million Indians working in the Gulf, who would be exposed to a nuclear threat if Iran weaponised its nuclear programme.
Remittances from Indians in the Gulf, he said, were vital to India’s economy, “our balance of payments needs” have to be protected and India was dependent on a stable Gulf for its oil imports, Singh argued.