NEW DELHI: After accusing the US of allegedly trying to derail his appointment as Foreign Minister of India in his just released autobiography, Natwar Singh on Monday stepped up his attack on America, saying its embassy in Delhi was crawling with CIAspies who had a high degree of access to Indian officialdom.
“Americans have 130 officials here, whereas we have 25 officials in Washington. What are these officials doing in India? 25 per cent of these are CIA agents, I challenge them to deny it, they have access to all Ministries, they dine with our Joint Secretaries,” Natwar Singh told ET. Helping the alleged CIA staffers are people in our establishment, who have relatives in the US, Singh added.
“Sonia told me that she was under great pressure from various quarters, including the Americans, to not appoint me as External Affairs Minister. And the pressure came from the highest quarters. And I have also mentioned this in my book, that till the last moment, the American lobby had allegedly tried to derail my appointment.
Manmohan mentioned to me how powerful the Americans were and that perhaps they could go to any extent to destablise certain countries, including india,” said Singh.
Speaking to ET on references to Singh’s autography of a US hand of his being switched from the petroleum ministry, Congress leader Mani Shanker Aiyar said US pressure could have played a role. ” I’m deeply convinced even if this is not the proximate cause (of his being divested from the petroleum ministry) the fact is that Americans had sabotaged and made dropping Iran-India-Pakistan pipeline a condition to move ahead with the Nuclear deal.”
“David Mulford (former us ambassador) had come to me and in a subtle diplomatic way said that we have The Iran and Libya sanctions Act, but we never resorted to it, you move, we move, it was a veiled threat.
And then speaking at a seminar, he said one senior indian minister who had little idea of energy security was dropped and now senior Indian Minister Murli Deora appreciates it very much. I had protested (at Mulford’s utterances) and asked Shyam Saran to take up.” Aiyar also blamed former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for backing out on IPI gas pipeline.
“What shocked me that Manmohan Singh was not at all enthused about the gas pipeline. Manmohan Singh told me it (IPI) is not feasible and it will cost too much. 10 days later I learnt of nuclear deal.” On July 11, 2006, Singh had written to Congress President Sonia Gandhiand cautioned her about American intelligence activity.
“The other serious worry is the American infiltration of our intelligence agencies. The penetration is connived at by some of our own people whose relations have well paid jobs in America.” He also asked her to “stand straight” against Americans. “I am all for closer relations with the US.
I am against India becoming a client State. The Americans propagate “benign hegemony”, “humanitarian intervention”, “export of democracy”. These are sinister terminologies.
Like Indira Gandhi, we should stand straight. No tilts,” Singh wrote in his biography. This letter appears in his recently released autobiography -titled – ‘One Life is Not Enough’.