India's vote in favour of the IAEA resolution on Iran nuclear programme was an "encouraging and significant" step which indicated the evolving nature of US-India relationship, a leading US daily on Sunday said, while warning some American officials and lawmakers against creating the appearance of having pressurised New Delhi for its stance.
Asking legislators like Congressman Tom Lantos not to "brag" about 'pushing' India and advising American officials to avoid the crude appearance of a quid pro quo of Indian vote for access to US civilian nuclear technology, The Washington Times said India had surprised even the most vigilant observers when it sided with the US and the EU on the issue.
"India's position at the IAEA regarding Iran is encouraging and significant, illustrating that concerns over Iran's programme do not emanate from Washington and Europe alone," it said in an editorial, adding, "The move also indicates that the young US-Indian friendship is evolving."
US officials, it advised, should publicly avoid the appearance of a crude quid pro quo. "If the Indian Government is seen by its citizens as doing the bidding of the Bush Administration, it will suffer politically and may not vote with the US and EU come November (when the issue of referring Iran to UN Security Council will come up again).
Noting that Indian Communists have publicly opposed confronting Iran at the IAEA, the paper said "unfortunately, California Democrat Tom Lantos has made it more difficult for India to vote the right way next time."
"Lantos boasted of the pressure he put on India's Foreign Minister over the Iranian programme when he visited Washington in early September, and suggested that he single-handedly succeeded in getting the Indians to change their position."