Saturday, January 17, 2009

INTERVIEW / PRANAB MUKHERJEE/India Today, January 26, 2009

India has said that it will not sign Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) or Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) even if the Barack Obama administration presses it to do so. In the midst of a busy diplomatic calendar when India is using coercive diplomacy against Pakistan, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told me in Seedhi Baat programme on Aaj Tak and Headlines Today, "We will not sign CTBT or NPT. We are committed to the bilateral agreement with the US and India-specific safeguards with the IAEA."

In response to a question related to remarks made by US Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton that the US may insist on reviving the CTBT, Mukherjee said that India will continue to maintain its independent foreign policy. Mukherjee’s remarks came just ahead of the inauguration of the new US President Barack Obama on January 20. During her Senate confirmation hearing, Hillary had reportedly stressed that the US will make CTBT and Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT) as the priority of the US administration.
Analysts believe that the Democrat regime under Barack Obama would strongly advocate a more hawkish approach on CTBT and New Delhi and Washington may cross swords over this.

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