India's vote in favour of the International Atomic Energy Agency resolution on the Iran nuclear crisis was to give Tehran another chance and utilise the two-month period for further negotiations, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee was quoted as saying.
- Complete Coverage: Iran vote and after
Contending that the original resolution tabled by the EU-3 (Britain, Germany and France) was to refer the issue to the Security Council, Mukherjee, in an interview to The Week magazine, said India wanted Tehran to be given 'another chance'.
"The EU-3 said they can accept our argument provided all of us try to bring the parties concerned within the board... We did that. So time is available for another two months".
Rejecting the opposition charge that the government succumbed to American pressure, Mukherjee said India's vote was in 'conformity' with the country's policy.
The minister said India will stick to its policy of having a credible nuclear deterrent.
"The credible deterrent is to be determined by the government of the day, not by anyone outside the government or outside the country," he said.
- Also read: Standing up to America
India, Mukherjee said, has all along been maintaining that though it was not a signatory to NPT, those who had signed it should comply with the obligations under it.
Mukherjee said in 1998, India went for the second nuclear tests. "Thereafter, we said there will be no first use; no use against non-nuclear weapon states; no further weaponisation; no further test," he said emphasising, "Everything is in conformity with this."
He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had told President George W Bush in New York in September that India wanted the Iran problem to be resolved on the board of IAEA and that it should not be referred to the Security Council.