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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06NEWDELHI659
2006-01-30 13:52:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy New Delhi
Cable title:  

FS SARAN DISMISSES ANONYMOUS PRESS CLAIMS THAT

Tags:   MNUC  PREL  ENRG  EPET  IR  IN 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 000659 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

P/OPS/LONDON PLEASE PASS TO NICK BURNS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/18/2015
TAGS: MNUC PREL ENRG EPET IR IN
SUBJECT: FS SARAN DISMISSES ANONYMOUS PRESS CLAIMS THAT
INDIA WILL ABSTAIN ON IRAN IAEA VOTE

REF: NEW DELHI 614

NEW DELHI 00000659 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: Ambassador Mulford for Reasons 1.4 (B, D)

Will India Abstain?
-------------------



1. (C) Foreign Secretary Saran dismissed anonymously-sourced
press reports that India would abstain in the upcoming
February 2 IAEA BOG vote on Iran (other topics reported
septel) when he met the Ambassador on January 30. Saran
showed surprise when the Ambassador described the Reuters
report in which an unnamed senior GOI official alleged India
would abstain. Referring to the Ambassador's
highly-publicized comments about the Iran vote's possible
implications for Congressional action on the US-India
civilian nuclear energy agreement (reftel), the anonymous
official is quoted to have said: "We cannot vote with the US
after (the Ambassador's) comments. We're planning to
abstain." The official also said: "We are still hoping the
crisis won't go to a vote and Iran will get some more time to
resolve it through talks, but if it does, then Ambassador
Mulford has made it easy for us."

A Fine Report -- If it Were Accurate


--------------------------





2. (C) Saran, who was visibly surprised by the Ambassador's
recounting of the press reports, declared that there was
"absolutely no basis" for suggestions that India had decided
to abstain. Expressing the hope that India's friends in the
USG would appreciate his ministry's professionalism, the
Foreign Secretary underlined that it would be ludicrous of
India to adopt such a position before New Delhi knew what it
was being asked to vote upon. Saran acknowledged that he
could not rule out someone in the GOI floating personal
political opinions. "But as far as this ministry is
concerned," there are no decisions. Concluding, the Foreign
Secretary enthusiastically welcomed the offer of a January 31

SIPDIS
phone call from U/S Burns to readout on the London meeting,
and indicated that he would have no objection to the
Secretary also reaching out to Prime Minister Singh in his

SIPDIS
capacity as acting Foreign Minister (a title reaffirmed in
the January 29 cabinet shuffle).

A Word From the New Guy


--------------------------





3. (C) The anonymous official's statements were balanced by
hints at India's undecided IAEA BOG position made by India's
new Petroleum Minister, Murli Deora, whom wire services
quoted as saying "The upcoming IAEA vote affects the
petroleum ministry more than any other ministry as it has a
direct impact on energy security of the country." Numerous
sources have told us (reported septel) that Deora replaced
the previous Energy minister, Mani Shankar Aiyar, because
Aiyar had pushed a foreign policy independent of the MEA and
the Iran-India pipeline too vigorously, among other reasons.

COMMENT: Don't Read Too Much Into Anonymous Grumbling

NEW DELHI 00000659 002.2 OF 002




--------------------------



--------------------------





4. (C) There are legions of dinosaurs left in the Indian
bureaucracy who leak poison regularly to try to disrupt the
encouraging pace of US-India relations. There is a lot of
blood on the table from January 29's cabinet reshuffle, and
the old guard are extremely grumpy at the strong pro-US shift
in the cabinet. The leak that India will abstain in Vienna
was greeted with surprise and derision by FS Saran, a man in
the inner circle. We cannot rule out that the leak is part
of a rearguard action fought by disgruntled communists,
socialists, NAM-afficionados, and their ilk to take India
back to its autarkic, moralistic, impoverished, and
unrealistic past. As PM Singh has said again and again,
India will make decisions on Iran that are in its best
national interest. FS Saran has told us clearly that a
nuclear Iran is not in India's national interest. We are
confident that the GOI is still undecided about its IAEA BOG
vote on February 2, anonymous leaks notwithstanding. END
COMMENT.
MULFORD