[Marxism] Collapse of Indo-US Nuclear Deal Causes Heartbreaks in Moscow and Paris

Sukla Sen suklasenp at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Oct 17 22:55:26 MDT 2007


Russian foreign minister too busy for Pranab?
17 Oct 2007, 0119 hrs IST,Indrani Bagchi,TNN

NEW DELHI: Foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee failed to
meet some of the key figures in the Russian leadership
during his weekend visit to Moscow. A meeting with
Mukherjee's counterpart Sergei Lavrov was cancelled on
the ground that the Russian minister was too busy with
US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.

Mukherjee could not meet Russian president Vladimir
Putin, which would have given India and Russia an
opportunity to discuss the most important
international issue of the time: Iran. Putin arrived
in Iran on Tuesday for a visit that is the cynosure of
international attention.

During his last visit, Mukherjee not only met
everybody but he even had a private meeting with
Putin. Therefore, the Russian brush-off was keenly
felt in New Delhi. Russia was one of the countries
eagerly awaiting the passage of the India-US nuclear
deal. It has an in-principle agreement with India, and
diplomats said Moscow would have hit the ground
running with four new reactors in Kudankulam as soon
as India got an exemption from the Nuclear Suppliers

But with the UPA government giving in to the Left
threat of withdrawal of support, hopes of an expansion
of nuclear commerce have been put on hold. Earlier,
Russia was one of the top three nuclear suitors that
India had.

In Delhi, in preparation for the NSG exemption, the
French nuclear industry has also been chomping at the
bit. On Monday, French ambassador Jerome Bonnafont
told a meeting of Indian and French nuclear industry,
"France has already invested considerable efforts in
order to help India gain access to international
cooperation." Urging India to sign a safeguasrds
agreement with the IAEA, Bonnafont pointedly said,
"These are the conditions for cooperation not only
with one country, but with all those who are able to
work with India in this field. France is along side
with India, in NSG and IAEA, and is confident that
both institutions are ready to go ahead." But with
Centre backing out, diplomats said there would be an
inevitable effect on other aspects of India's foreign
policy as well. French president Nicolas Sarkozy will
be India's Republic Day guest and there was heightened
expectation that by that time, a nuclear deal would be
signed between India and France.


Pranab faced Russian rebuff, was frisked at Moscow

Express news service

Posted online: Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 0000 hrs

All the wavering on the nuclear deal is beginning to
already impact UPA Government’s image abroad. External
Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had an unusually
“indifferent” stay in Russia recently. Not only did
the Russian Foreign Minister not find time to meet
him, he had to undergo security checks at the
ceremonial lounge on his way back.

Mukherjee was in Moscow on October 11-13 for the
annual meeting of the Indo-Russia Inter-Governmental
Commission, which many in political circles believe
could have been rescheduled by Mukherjee if Russian
President Vladimir Putin was travelling and Foreign
Minister Sergei Lavrov was busy during that period.

Instead, sources said, the visit was one of the
reasons behind pushing the UPA-Left Committee meeting
on nuclear deal until after Dussehra puja on October

If not being able to meet key Russian leaders was not
frustrating enough, Mukherjee is said to have faced
the embarrassment of having to undergo security checks
at the ceremonial lounge while leaving Moscow.

Usually, visiting dignitaries are exempt from this.
While the sources indicated that the External Affairs
Minister was “frisked”, other officials accompanying
him claimed that he had to go through routine security

India is believed to have taken serious note of the
matter and the Indian Embassy in Moscow has been asked
to raise this with their Russian counterparts. The
initial view was that, perhaps, Moscow wanted to show
annoyance over delays in defence contracts. But given
that Defence Minister A K Antony is now in Moscow to
convey that India is willing to settle the annual
price escalation row in Moscow’s favour at the rate of
5 per cent, the reasons lie elsewhere.

While South Block argues that Mukherjee’s counterpart
in the Commission is Russian Deputy Prime Minister
Alexander Zhukov, the fact is that India had hoped to
have a meeting with Lavrov.

In fact, the MEA statement ahead of the visit
mentioned that Mukherjee was expected to meet “several
Russian dignitaries including Minister of Foreign
Affairs of the Russian Federation”. As it turned out,
Lavrov was busy with US Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice and couldn’t take out time.

With India dithering on the nuclear deal, much of the
key issues dealt by the Commission like civilian
nuclear cooperation and high technology trade are
bound to get delayed as Russia is also finding it
difficult to do commerce in sensitive items without
India having obtained exemption from the Nuclear
Suppliers Group.

The embarrassment, however, is not lost on the MEA,
which is likely to return the compliment in the same
coin as they prepare for the trilateral
India-Russia-China meeting of foreign ministers at
Harbin, northeastern China, on October 24.

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