Saran questions Mulford’s notion on US influence in India


New Delhi: Former US envoy to India David Mulford had an “exaggerated notion” about the extent of American influence in this country, especially in the context of cabinet formation, former foreign secretary Shyam Saran said here Monday.

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“I think Mr. Mulford had a rather exaggerated notion of the kind of influence that the United States of America exercises in India,” Saran said in an interview to CNN-IBN’s Karan Thapar, telecast Monday.

“That may be his sense, but I think that is arrogance that a country like India would be making cabinet changes or will be dismissing or appointing ministers at the behest of the United States of America. This is outrageous,” Saran said.

He was reacting to a question on a leaked US diplomatic cable which indicated that Indian cabinet formation was influenced by whether a prospective minister was pro-American or not.

Saran also refuted that the US had forced India to vote against Iran in the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“Whenever you are taking a decision on a sensitive issue like this you have to consider a number of factors and the US factor, the fact that a friendly country which was very deeply concerned about the Iranian nuclear programme was making that intervention with us, was one of the inputs but there were other things as well,” he said.

Saran said that India was mindful that Iran had to do “full accounting” with respect to its nuclear programme. “Because of the fact that Iran’s nuclear programme was linked to Pakistan, was linked to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and I think it was in India’s interest that they should come out in the open,” he added.