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Indian Opposition Attacks Govt. over US List of Ministers

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TEHRAN, March 17 (ICANA) – The Indian government came under attack in both Houses of Parliament on Tuesday as the latest Wikileaks cables revealed that US viewed the 2006 Cabinet reshuffle and induction of 'pro-US ministers' as good for furthering India-US relationship.
Thursday, March 17, 2011 1:25:05 PM
Indian Opposition Attacks Govt. over US List of Ministers

CPM member P Rajeev raised the issue during Zero Hour in the Rajya Sabha and called the latest leaks shameful, the Economic Times reported.

"The Wikileaks talks about the Cabinet reshuffle of January 2006. The removal of 'outspoken Iran pipeline advocate' Mani Shankar Aiyar and the appointment of pro-US Murli Deora as petroleum minister were described by the American embassy as signifying a determination to ensure that US-India relations continued to move ahead... The embassy said that the net effect of the reshuffle was a Cabinet that is likely to be excellent for US goals in India. This is shameful."

The Cabinet reshuffle saw inclusion of what the then Ambassador David C Mulford termed in his cable as people with "strong pro-US credentials." The members mentioned in Mulford's cable were Ashwini Kumar, Saif-ud-din Soz, Anand Sharma and Kapil Sibal. The net effect of the reshuffle, Mulford said in the cable, was a Cabinet that is "likely to be excellent for US goals in India."

Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, Aiyar said he was not surprised by Mulford's comments. "Mulford has a right to send what he wants to the State Department," he said, adding that Mulford had publicly criticized him in Washington DC, after the petroleum portfolio was taken away from him.

The latest tranche of leaked cables put Congress on the defensive. "We don't need to react to it right now. There is no way that it can be proven that actual policy decisions of the government were affected by somebody's opinions. When this is brought out by any cable that they were able to influence decision-making in any country, that is when the world should notice," a senior party leader said.

The party refused to be drawn into the controversy. "I would request you not to diminish the stature of Indian democracy, which is far larger than elements like Wikileaks. These are elements of sensationalism. There is no question of dignifying them with a comment. We deny their authenticity," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.

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