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UK in damage-control mode after David Miliband’s comment

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

The UK is in a damage-control mode after controversial comments made by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Mumbai attack investigations, the judicial system in Pakistan and the Kashmir issue.

British Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Lord Peter Mandelson today said the UK was behind India “all the way along the line” to bring the perpetrators to book. Though Mandelson did not disown Miliband’s comments, he said diplomatic spats should not hinder economic cooperation and the ongoing efforts to punish the terrorists.

Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh had earlier said Miliband’s comments would not cloud India-UK ties.

Mandelson said concluding a UK-India civil nuclear cooperation would not be delayed due to “double thinking” and “petty bureaucracy”. Such a deal will give the UK opportunities to share its expertise in decommissioning nuclear plants, waste management and supply “70 to 80 per cent of components to set up a nuclear plant”, he added.

However, Ramesh made it clear that from safety point of view, fuel supply assurance, regulatory and strategic considerations, only the Indian public sector would be allowed to build nuclear reactors and power plants. But India sought cutting-edge technological expertise, which, after the NSG waiver, is no more an issue.

First Published: Tue, January 20 2009. 00:00 IST