US armtwisting India to let Dow go scotfree: Oppn

The BJP and Left parties on Thursday alleged that the US was trying to armtwist India to let Dow Chemicals go scotfree with...

Written by Agencies | New Delhi/washington | Published:August 20, 2010 1:48 am

The BJP and Left parties on Thursday alleged that the US was trying to armtwist India to let Dow Chemicals go scotfree with regard to its liability in the Bhopal gas tragedy. Raising the issue during Zero Hour,D Raja of CPI quoted media reports saying that there was an exchange of emails between Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and US deputy national security advisor Michael Froman on the issue.

Responding to Ahluwalia’s request for US support in the World Bank for India’s borrowing,Froman had reportedly said,“We are hearing a noise about Dow Chemicals issue…I think we want to avoid developments,which put a chilling effect on the investment relationship.”

However,US on Thursday dismissed the reports saying it was committed to building a strong relationship with India. “The assertion that there was linkage between two separate and distinct issues is wrong,is incorrect,” Benjamin Chang,deputy spokesperson of the National Security Council in the White House,said.

Chang,however,refused to make any comment on the content of the communication,but asserted that making any link between two separate issues is incorrect.

“We are not going to comment on the specific contents on e-mails,” Chang said,adding that any effort to conclude that there was any linkage between two separate issues was wrong. “We certainly recognise the importance the two countries,” he said.

Raja,joined by CPI(M) and BJP members,said it was very clear that the US was trying to influence the decision making of the country and the government should not succumb to this pressure.

He said the email exchange between Ahluwalia and Froman suggests that US wanted India to take back Rs 1,500 crore-damage claim against Dow Chemicals.

He said home minister P Chidambaram had given an assurance earlier that there was no pressure from outside on the Bhopal gas issue. “The government should come clean on the issue,” he said.

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