BERLIN: Germany on Wednesday said India had reduced its oil imports from Iran to point to a commonality of purpose in making the West Asian country account for its nuclear programme even as the two countries continued to hammer at the need for a diplomatic solution to the stalemate.
Foreign minister Salman Khurshid said there was no difference of opinion with Germany or Europe which are trying to control nuclear proliferation. He said while India had traditional relations and imported oil from Iran, it had taken an open position on the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
“We are still hopeful that efforts of the EU and others would come to fruition,” he said while responding to a question if there were differences between the two strategic partners on dealing with Iran.
Khurshid held a press conference with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle after consultations that preceded the talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chancellor Angela Merkel scheduled for Thursday. The foreign minister mentioned the expansion of the Security Council as an agenda of discussions and added that it was time to take the big “political decision” on free trade agreement after 16 rounds of discussions. “The technocrats have done their job,” he said.
Westerwelle said India and Germany believed that Iran had to be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons.
He said EU’s sanction regime against Iran was important in the success of their objective and pointed to India’s reduced oil imports from Iran to suggest convergence. He added that countries should work for a diplomatic solution.
Iran, along with North Kora and Afghanistan, is likely to form part of bilateral talks that would also discuss global issues between India and Germany.
Westerwelle pointed out that the war rhetoric coming out of North Korea could endanger global security far beyond the Korean peninsula and urged the global community to ensure that the communist regime stopped “playing with fire”.
The US-led western forces pullout from Afghanistan next year has also raised concerns in India about its implications and India is likely to raise the matter during discussions.
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