Indian Prime Minister Singh: Pakistan not doing enough to fight terrorism; failure in Afghanistan would be catastrophic
An interview with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Question: You have spoken about a strategic partnership between India and the United States. Is there a sufficient overlap of viewpoints to allow such a partnership, especially on two of the most pressing issues: Iran and Afghanistan?Skip to next paragraph
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The US believes it would be unacceptable for Iran to develop or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons. Do you share that view? Would India support sanctions to discourage Iran going down that path?
Manmohan Singh: We do not support the nuclear weapons ambitions of Iran. Iran is a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It thus has all the rights that go with that treaty, including pursuit of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
At the same time it has obligations that go with this membership. This rules out nuclear weapons. There is no ambiguity in India's position on this.
If the United Nations Security Council passes any resolution [on sanctions], we have in the past abided by what the Security Council says.
President Obama's approach has opened up the new possibility of engagement with Iran without preconditions. Our hope is that this yields results.
Just before I left New Delhi two days ago, I had the privilege of meeting with Iran's foreign minister, who studied in India for many years. He mentioned that Iran is encouraged by the messages it is receiving from the Obama administration, and that he was hopeful that would lead to productive results.
Question: You have also said that the world should "put its weight" behind the government of Afghanistan. Should more US and international troops be a part of the policy?
Singh: I am not a military expert and so don't claim to know the right size of troop levels that should be deployed in Afghanistan. But I'm quite clear in my mind that Afghanistan requires the sustained support of the global community if it is to return to the path of peace, freedom, and an environment in which fundamentalist terrorist elements do not have the sway they had some years ago before 9/11.
Question: Is what happens in Afghanistan decisive for Pakistan's future?
Singh: There is no doubt in my mind that if the Taliban and Al Qaeda group of people succeed in Afghanistan, it would have catastrophic results for the security and stability not only of Pakistan, but for all of South Asia, where 1.8 billion people live.