Kayhan International, 21 Oct 2008 :
TEHRAN, Oct 20 – Dr. Ved Pratap Vaidik*, Chairman of the Council for Indian Foreign Policy, says no country should take any offence on the recently signed nuclear agreement betweenIndiaand theUnited States.
Dr. Vaidik, who was in Tehran last weekend told Kayhan International’s Fereydoon Tarapour in an exclusive interview, that the entire world knows that this deal has been reached after two and half years of very tough discussions. “I myself opposed it very strongly” because, as he said, he can never compromise on the stringent conditions put forth by theUSA. These conditions, he said, will be a test of power, authority and autonomy of the government ofIndiain the coming times.
But, he said, this is not against any country. There is no reason for any country to take any offence on this agreement. This is a bilateral deal. It is not meant to harm any country, any neighbor or any power, he stressed. “This is just meant to enhance the vast energy requirement acquisition of the people ofIndia”.
The Indians are progressing very fast. It is one of the fastest growing economies of the world – almost 10 percent every year.
“We need a lot of energy and perhaps this nuclear agreement might provide us with a good source of peaceful nuclear energy”. Just likeIran, he said, lots of sanctions were imposed onIndia. Now with this agreement, all those sanctions are gone, Dr. Vaidik added.
So nowIndiacan acquire civil nuclear energy and even become suppliers for the 45-nation Nuclear Supplier Group, he said.New Delhihas now opened up the “Indian nuclear bazaar” for the entire world. Any country in the world, includingIran, if its sanctions are removed, can buy nuclear equipment fromIndia, he said.
India, which currently has 22 nuclear reactors, is seeking to expand its nuclear energy sector, opening up a market estimated at 100 billion euros over the next 15 years.
RegardingIran’s opposition to the India-US nuclear deal, he said thatIran’s opposition was unnecessary since it does not harmIranin any way.
Over weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), Dr. Vaidik said, since Iran opposes nuclear weapons, and the world powers are stopping Iran from having its peaceful nuclear energy, it should come out openly and speak out as to why all the nuclear countries like US, Israel, Russia, UK and others stockpile their WMDs and stopping new emerging countries trying to produce nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. They should prepare a time-table as to when they will demolish their WMDs.
US attackedIraqfor the similar reason. Saddam was killed for WMDs, which were never found. Their reasoning turned out to be wrong.
If Saddam could be hanged, than why should leaders of the countries proved having WMDs be spared? They also should be hanged in a similar way, he stressed.
Dr. Vaidik said that if these countries do not want to destroy their WMDs, “then what’s wrong withIranhaving a weapon. In fact I would putIranon a high pedestal, compared to many other irresponsible countries”, he stressed.
“IfIranwants to have a weapon,Iranshould completely annul the NPT and tell the world they are going to prepare a weapon. Let them do what they want. What can they do”, he elaborated.
“Iranhas to make clear to the world, as Kayhan Group of Newspapers’ Managing Director Hussein Shariatmadari told me on Thursday that ‘a nuclear weapon is against Islam. It is against the teachings of the Holy Qur’an’.Iranshould take up this cause seriously. It will change the shape of the world, not onlyAsia”, he said.
Furthermore,Iranshould be very firm, should not waver, should not shake and its policy should be straight and clear, he said. People of the world who love and believe inIranwill support this cause, he said.
Regarding Nato troops stationed inAfghanistanand fighting the Taliban, he said that Nato enteredAfghanistanseven years ago to destroy terrorism and reconstruct the country. But it was a total failure (as the world is witness to it), he said, and added, they have accomplished nothing.
The people ofAfghanistanare disillusioned. There is no security, no stability and no peace inAfghanistan. Now they (US) are admitting the fact that their so-called mission was a failure.
“And in my view, the best solution is the earliest possible withdrawal of the Nato forces fromAfghanistan”. If these forces withdraw, an alternative arrangement has to be made and it should be a regional arrangement, he said.
A great neighbor likeIranwill be ready to help.Indiacan join hands withIranand can invitePakistanto form a joint military front to tackle terrorism in that country. A dialogue should be opened with the Taliban, who are also a part of the same community inAfghanistan. They should not be hated. If you disagree with them, you can reject their ideology and methodology.
A regional force can work much better than what the Americans or Nato can do, he stressed.
When asked about the double standard policy of theUSthat on one side they are fighting the Taliban and on the other side they want to hold private talks with them, Dr. Vaidik gave the example of the shah ofIran.
He said during the time of the revolution inIran, he was here as a reporter to cover the event. He said it was very visible that the shah was baffled. He used to talk to followers of (the late) Imam Khomeini at one time; change the prime minister every three hours; ordering one thing in the morning and issuing new orders in the evening. He was so puzzled that he did not know what to do.
Similarly, the American administration is completely confused today. It does not know what step to take. It is looking for some loop holes to end the losing battle inAfghanistan, blamesIranon certain occasions, plans a permanent Nato base over there and also seeks sympathy from others.
He questioned, who are the Americans to talk to the Taliban? A regional force can work much better than what the Americans or Nato can do, he said very firmly.
US is also in a deep quagmire inIraqand to some extent inPakistan. They are earning a bad name not only among the ordinary world people but also among its own people, he said.
“Some Afghan villagers told me during my trip toAfghanistanthat they hated the Russian army. But they (the Russian soldiers) never violated our sanctity”. According to Afghans’ statement, the (US-led) Nato troops barge into Muslim homes and search their belongings and even touch and search their women. “This is inexcusable”, he said.
Elsewhere, he said that there is no tension or any other issue hindering India-Iran cooperation. The IPI (Iran,Pakistan,India) pipeline should be laid. Also there are vast untapped fields of cooperation between these two great nations.
Indiahas lots of consumer goods and technology whichIrancan rightly benefit. Also the visa system should be abolished and each other’s borders should be opened so that trade and tourism can flourish, he said.
Iranshould concentrate on a larger role inAsiaas it has the capability to do so.
Dr. Ved Pratap Vaidik was a student and teacher in political science in international affairs. He obtained his PhD onAfghanistan’s foreign policy almost 40 years ago. He studied Russian, Persian and German to complete his research work. He is a renowned political thinker and Social reformer.
At first he worked as an editor for one of the largest circulating Hindi newspapers and later as an editor of Press Trust of India’s Hindi news agency called Bhasha.
He has almost a dozen books to his credit. He has written around 2,000 articles for different newspapers, magazines and journals and has presented 2-3 dozen research papers.
As a political man, he has been interacting with top policy makers inIndiaand abroad. He has done a lot forSouth Asiathrough his meetings, speeches and personal contacts with many countries’ top dignitaries. He has representedIndiaat the UN in 1999. He has traveled to almost 80 countries in the World.