US senators warn Indo-Iran ties can derail N-pact

US senators warn Indo-Iran ties can derail N-pact

Washington: Observing that there was “no evidence" that India would cease its military relationship with Iran, two US Senators have warned that the “growing" ties between the two countries could “sidetrack" the Indo-US nuclear agreement.

In a letter to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Republican Senator Jon Kyl and Richard Durbin, a Democrat, have said “government sanctioned military-to-military working groups and joint military training exercises that India conducts with Iran" were a cause of concern.

“As supporters of the US-India Civil Nuclear Accord, we’re apprehensive that the agreement could be sidetracked by what appears to be a growing relationship between Iran and India," they said in the letter dated September 5,2007.

“India apparently has helped Iran to develop more effective batteries for its submarine fleet," the lawmakers said and termed it as “disturbing".

In an attempt to alert the Indian government to this “potential problem", they said, eight US Senators wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier this year asking him whether India would break its military relationship with Iran.

“These Senators did not receive a response; and, of course, there has been no evidence that India will cease its military relationship with Iran," the letter said.

The lawmakers also cited reports detailing steps by India to enter into agreements to develop Iranian oil and gas resources and expressed the hope that New Delhi would deny Tehran such economic support.