And when it was time to vote, India voted in favour of a resolution sponsored by EU countries that aims to refer Iran’s nuclear programme to the United Nations Security Council. This, as The Acorn had advocated, is exactly what it should have done.
The IAEA board carried the resolution by a 22-to-1 vote, with 12 abstentions. India voted in favour with the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, Peru, Singapore and Japan. In spite of leading the opposition, Russia and China abstained while it was left for Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela to register the sole vote against the motion. While the resolution was not as tough as the Europeans initially proposed, it still sets the stage for the IAEA to refer Iran to the UN Security Council while signaling to Iran that it has just one last chance to work out a compromise.
What effect the vote will have on Iran’s nuclear programme is still anybody’s guess. But it is amply clear that India has broken new ground in international relations — it has broken ranks with both ‘non-aligned’ and ‘developing’ countries to vote in line with a new definition of its national interest, and as a responsible regional and global power. Like Russia and China, India could easily have abstained. That it chose clarity over ambivalence clearly demonstrates that the Indian foreign policy establishment has recognised that an independent foreign policy is not inconsistent with taking the same positions as the West. The foreign minister’s rhetoric though needs some catching up, trapped as he is in a Cold War that is long over. India failed to extract as much diplomatic mileage from its decision as it could have. If only the foreign minister had better articulated India’s position.
Related Link: As usual, it falls upon C Raja Mohan to explain why and why not on behalf of the Indian government.