US pressures India to scale down ties with North Korea

The American message was communicated shortly before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit.

As war clouds gathered over the Korean peninsula following the North Korean missile tests, visiting U.S. officials have asked India to cut down ties with Pyongyang, senior diplomatic sources have said.

American pressure on the issue has been rising over the last few months even as India joined Japan last week in describing North Korea as a common threat.

An India-Japan joint statement issued at the end of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s latest visit last week called upon North Korea to roll back its nuclear and missile programmes.

“They (India and Japan) pledged to work together to deal with the current serious situation and called on the international community to rigorously and fully implement relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions to maximise pressure on North Korea.”

It was the second time in two months that the U.S. conveyed such a message. In July a senior U.S. diplomat had visited New Delhi with the same communication.

The American insistence that India reduce ties with North Korea is an important move as it aims to draw New Delhi more strongly into the East Asian crisis. The message also reflects recent Indian arguments about North Korea as stated by a high-level diplomat who recounted Pakistan’s role in arming it with nuclear knowhow as a reason for India’s continued concern with the country.

In line with this thought the joint statement stated that those countries that supported the North Korean nuclear programme should be held “accountable.”