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WikiLeaks row: Oppn corners govt

The Opposition on Tuesday slammed the government in Parliament after a series of secret US diplomatic cables leaked by whistleblower website WikiLeaks suggested a US tilt in the cabinet reshuffle of 2006 when the “contentious and outspoken Iran pipeline advocate” Mani Shankar Aiyar was removed and “pro-US” Murli Deora was appointed as Petroleum Minister.

The Opposition, led by the CPM raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha and said there was a pro-American tilt in the reshuffle, quoting the US cables in which then Ambassador David Mulford has talked about the reshuffle that is “likely to be excellent for US goals in India (and Iran)”.

“Removing contentious and outspoken Iran pipeline advocate Mani Shankar Aiyar from the Petroleum portfolio, the UPA replaced him with the pro-US Murli Deora, who was one of several figures inducted with long-standing ties to the Indo-US Parliamentary Forum (IUPF) and the Embassy,” the leaked cable, as reported by The Hindu, reads.

The CPM lapped up the cables and demanded a statement from the government.

In Rajya Sabha, CPM member P Rajeeve raised the issue, arguing that the secret cables “reveals the pressure by the US on India and the pro-US positions of our government on several issues”.

He said it was “very shameful” that New Delhi agreed to share information about investigation into the 26/11 terror attacks under pressure from the US. He mentioned about the cables regarding cabinet formation.

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