//BJP toes RSS line, endorses govt's vote against Iran at IAEA

BJP toes RSS line, endorses govt's vote against Iran at IAEA

NEW DELHI: Toeing the RSS line, the main Opposition BJP on Tuesday virtually endorsed the Government’s vote against Iran at the IAEA meeting saying it was not in India’s interest to have another nuclear neighbour in its vicinity.

But the party attacked the Government for the "impression" that it has surrendered its sovereign rights to take decisions on key issues and "permitted to be hustled and pressurised into voting in a particular manner".

A statement after a meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Party executive, chaired by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, which discussed the issue, stopped short of coming out in open support of the Indian vote at IAEA saying it was not in India’s interests to see Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

"India can clearly neither ignore, nor minimise the strategic implications and adverse consequences of Iran acquiring nucelar weapons. It was therefore patently in India’s interests to have been in the forefront of that vast majority of the international community questioning the many clandestine devices through which nuclear technology and material have been transferred to Iran from Pakistan and several other countries.

"These acquisitions are in clear violation of the obligations, and commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty plus all related safeguard provisions of it", the party said.

Later, briefing reporters, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh said "the BJP is clear that it was not in national interests to have another nuclear weapon power in its neighbourhood but the casual manner in which it treated the issue raises doubts that the arrival of the conclusion was determined by the Government at the prodding and pushing upon some consideration."

PTI, Tuesday, February 14, 2006  14:48 IST