Warning to India
Sir-- The letter -- rather warning -- dated 2 May by the Committee of Foreign Affairs in the US House of Representatives to Manmohan, the Indian prime minister, has deeply wounded India's sensitivities on sovereignty.
In this US warning India has been sought to provide assurance (apart from refraining from the so-called illegal procurement from the US of sensitive technology for India's ballistic missile programme) that it will sever military cooperation with Iran and will terminate India's participation in the development of Iran's energy sector.
Because India knows that in the given international political situation, if India (in dire need to immediately produce 70,000 MW of electric power as per last week's media statement of the Central Power minister) does not heed the warnings, the ongoing Indo-US nuclear deal will be in jeopardy.
Even if the Iran-Pakistan-India gas line is installed at great financial cost to India, the US will see to it that not a single drop of petroleum reaches India.
The US will inflict humiliation to India on terrorism, the Kashmir dispute and other international political issues. India can expect a fair amount of US alienation on the economic front as well.
But India (despite economically so humble) has always held its head high mainly due to its exalted credentials, whether it is the achievement of independence by non-violence or functioning the largest democracy, or constitutional secularism, or women's liberation or free media and free judiciary of which even Western countries can be genuinely envious of, would certainly come out of this crises with flying colours.
.India ought to ask the UN to adopt a policy where no country (including permanent members and India) will be allowed to keep or make WMDs including nuclear.
India ought to ask UN to fully take over the "global war on terrorism" and not to leave it to individual countries like the US and to device a policy framework by the UN to fight terrorism.
India need not be deterred and should pursue its military cooperation with Iran.
India need not be deterred and should expedite the Iran-Pakistan-India gas line and pursue any other project in order to participate in the development of Iran's energy sector.
Hem Raj Jain
Marrying an Egyptian
Sir-- Did you know the American Embassy in Cairo is currently not allowing Americans to marry Egyptian citizens? I am an American-Muslim who was in Egypt for the entire month of April. My plans were to marry an Egyptian citizen upon my arrival through the courts and then onto our planned wedding party. However, our dreams were dashed when I learned at the American Embassy that due to a change in language from the Egyptian courts, the embassy will not allow an American citizen to sign the affidavit that is required by the Egyptian courts.
I'm not sure what all the fuss is about, however I do know that I checked the US Embassy in Cairo website on Marriages under American Citizen Services two days prior to my arrival in Cairo and the website gave detailed i nstructions on what to do in order to be married. The day after my arrival, I went to the embassy with my fiancée, my mother who travelled with me and my fiancée's brother-in-law. It was there that I was told I could not have the paper because the Egyptian courts wanted the US to give me permission to marry and in my country, my government does not have the authority to give me permission. This would be a violation of my civil liberties. We are allowed to marry whoever we want.
Needless to say, I was left without any hopes of marrying my fiancée legally. In the interim, we consulted legal advice and had a religious contract written up so that we could still have our planned, paid party. In the embassy, they took down the weblink to marriages in Egypt and replaced it with some sad excuse for why there is a delay with no hope in sight.
I'm back in the US after my one-month stay in Egypt and there is still no update to the news that I was certainly not prepared for.
I am certain I am not the only one whose plans were disrupted due to the legalities of a few words.
Cross at your peril
Sir-- Thank you for publishing the article on traffic accidents ('Predictable and preventable' 3-9 May). In considering ways to reduce fatalities and injuries due to traffic accidents, some attention should be given to helping the poor pedestrian. Some streets are impossible to cross without taking a huge risk. There is for instance no guaranteed crossing for pedestrians on the Corniche road from the footbridge at Misr Al-Qadima all the way to Maadi at least. If pedestrians themselves are sometimes undisciplined, one has to take their dilemma into account.
Cheney to blame
Sir-- I heard this morning that US Vice-President Dick Cheney wants the Sunnis and Shia to band together against other Iraqis to come to a peaceful end. But wasn't it Cheney who helped create the war and chaos in the beginning? If not for Cheney, Bush and others, there would not be a war.
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