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21/02/2003-General Musharraf cannot be trusted

Inteiveiw of EAM with Izvestia

Yesterday, visit of Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha concluded. He met with the Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov situation around Iraq and North Korea. The main theme of discussion of Mr. Yashwant Sinha with the Russian Minister of Defence Sergei Ivanov was fight against international terrorism and cooperation in the military technical field. How this cooperation is developing and what positions does India have on the issue of Iraq and North Korea, Mr. Sinha replied to the questions of Natalia Babasyan of Izvestia.

Inteiveiw of EAM with Izvestia

Yesterday, visit of Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha concluded. He met with the Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov situation around Iraq and North Korea. The main theme of discussion of Mr. Yashwant Sinha with the Russian Minister of Defence Sergei Ivanov was fight against international terrorism and cooperation in the military technical field. How this cooperation is developing and what positions does India have on the issue of Iraq and North Korea, Mr. Sinha replied to the questions of Natalia Babasyan of Izvestia.

Q. Delhi is considered to be one of the most important partner of Moscow in the sphere of military technical cooperation. However, recently India started buying military equipment from the West and it has licence from Russia, giving rights for independent production. Do you think that in this respect instead of being partner India is becoming its competitor for the third countries?

Military technical cooperation between India and Russia has a very long history. Even after the collapse of the Soviet Union our relations in this sphere continued. This is not a mere buyer-seller relationship but we are also having joint ventures. The missile BrahMos is a product of our joint cooperation, which is produced in both the countries and being used by both. Our relations in the military technical sphere are commercial. We live in a competitive world where other suppliers also exist. We want to cooperate in the military technical sphere mainly with Russia. However, it does not exclude acquisition of weapons from other countries. We buy from Russia Sukhois, and from France Mirage. For Russian military equipment production establishments there is no bar for selling its products to other countries. Our relations are flexible.

Q: What’s Indian position on Iraq?

We always supported Iraq’s fulfillment of all UN resolutions, including 1441. Iraq must cooperate with international inspectors and prove to the international community that it has no WMD, and if it has, it must eliminate it. Any decisions on Iraq should be made with UN Security Council sanctions. India is for peaceful and diplomatic solutions of the problem. The people of Iraq have been suffering for more than 10 years because of the sanctions, and if the international community finds there’s no WMD in Iraq, the sanctions should be lifted. Besides, we believe that the problem with Iraq should be resolved immediately because many countries, including India, are suffering due to high oil prices.

Q: If an attack on Iraq occurs, what will India do about it?

We continue to hope that military solution will be avoided.

Q: North Korea declared about resumption of its nuclear program. How does India see the resolution of that problem?

We are concerned about the situation around North Korea. What worries us is not that it has nuclear weapons but the illegal proliferation which has taken place. We have all the reasons to believe that Pakistan is responsible for that. Pakistan received missile technologies in return. To find a solution for this situation, the US and North Korea should have talks and make a mutually acceptable decision. North Korea instead of being threatened should be given chance to integrate into the international community. And North Korea should not threat the whole world with its nuclear weapons.

Q. India has not joined Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Is it planning to do this?

We have reservations about the current state of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons. We are for complete and universal disarmament. We think that all countries should say no to the use of nuclear weapons simultaneously. We are ready to work with the international community on this. For us it is unacceptable that countries who posses nuclear weapons, do not allow others to posses them, despite the fact that there is a threat to their security. Decades India restrained itself from producing nuclear weapons, in spite of having capability. We have started developing (nuclear weapons) only when we learnt that nuclear weapons are possessed not only by China but also by Pakistan. Our nuclear doctrine clearly states India’s No First Use policy. Besides, the doctrine prohibits use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states.

Q. Recently, President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf visited Moscow. He discussed with President Putin possibilities of resolution of Indo-Pakistan crisis. Did this influence on Indo-Pakistan relations?

In Russia I believe the problem of India-Pakistan relations is very well understood. We have all the basis to say that this correct understanding was passed on to General Musharraf. I don’t think that this would result into improvement in the situation. For last few years Musharraf showed that he is not a person who could be trusted. He promises many things but does not fulfill them. He is the prisoner of internal situation in Pakistan and cannot find exit from this situation.

Natalia Babasyan, February 21, 2003

 

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