September 21, 2007


US questions India-Iran ties: Relations could imperil nuclear energy agreement (Rama Lakshmi, September 21, 2007, The Washington Post)

India's longstanding ties with Iran appear to be threatening the beleaguered nuclear energy deal between Washington and New Delhi and, more broadly, their growing strategic alliance. [...]

On Wednesday, reacting to Boucher's statement, India's defense minister, A.K. Antony, said India's relations with the United States and Iran were independent of each other. "India has very friendly relations with Iran. It will continue to do so," he said.

Two weeks ago, Antony informed Parliament that the Indian Navy was training five Iranian sailors in its facilities. India's foreign minister, Pranab Mukherjee, recently said that Iran had "every right to pursue its nuclear program for peaceful purposes" and that India favors a "noninterventionist policy in Iran."

Such a policy would run contrary to the hopes of the Bush administration. The legislation that made the US-India nuclear deal possible contains a nonbinding provision stating that India should work with the United States to dissuade Iran from developing its nuclear program and help contain it.

Iran's deputy foreign minister, Mehdi Safari, traveled to New Delhi last week to brief the Indian government about developments related to nuclear issues in Tehran.

Israel to launch satellite in Indian spacecraft (Rediff News, September 21, 2007)
The satellite, developed and manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries, will be the first from that country with Synthetic Aperture Radar capabilities, which will permit the cameras to take pictures under the cloudiest, most foggy conditions.

The Post reports that this will be the first time Israel launches a satellite piggybacking on Indian facilities, in keeping with a decision made three years ago during a visit to India by Israel's then defense ministry director-general Amos Yaron.

The 300-kilogram satellite will be taken into space aboard India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, in what industry experts say is a further step in India's attempt to grab a slice of the $2.5 billion global launch market. As with outsourcing, an attraction India offers for potential customers in this market is that it charges considerably less than space-capable Western nations.

Officials in India and Israel have declined to provide the date and time of the launch.

Instead of dividing India and the U.S., the alliance will draw together the U.S. and Iran over the next few years.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 21, 2007 8:37 AM
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