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Wikileaks reports suggest pro-US shift by UPA

New Delhi: Publication of Wikileaks reports suggesting that a "US tilt" was visible in the Indian Cabinet reshuffle of 2006, on Tuesday prompted the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha to allege that the pro-American shift by the UPA government was a "shameful" act.

CPI-M members in the Rajya Sabha raised the issue and said the Wikileaks cable quoted the US Ambassador in India David C Mulford as saying that there was "undeniable pro-American tilt" in the then Cabinet reshuffle.

The CPI-M members, led by P Rajeeve and Brinda Karat, said Mulford had described change in the Petroleum portfolio as a "determination to ensure that US-India relations continue to move ahead rapidly."

The matter was raised during Zero Hour by Rajeeve, who said that Mani Shankar Aiyar, seen by the US as "contentious and outspoken Iran pipeline advocate", was replaced by "pro- US" Murli Deora.

He said a chain of US embassy cables reveal the pro-US position of the Indian government on several issues.

Amid shouts of "shame" Rajeeve said America felt the net effect of the cabinet reshuffle was "likely to be excellent for the US goals in India (and Iran)."

The CPI-M member, supported by his party colleagues and BJP and Shiv Sena, said there was also a reference in the cables to the inclusion of Saifuddin Soz, Anand Sharma, Ashwani Kumar and Kapil Sibal "with strong pro-US credentials".

They revealed that India was not ready to share the details of investigations into 26/11 Mumbai attack with Pakistan initially. But after continuous pressure (from the US), the Home Minister agreed to share the information, he said.

The US quotes about "Kerala Mafia" in PMO also provoked members to shout slogans "shame on the government". They demanded a response from the government but it was not acceded to by Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan.

Citing rules, Khan did not allow members to seek response from the government.

"Today members are breaking all rules. This is not the way," Khan said adding the Chair cannot ask the government to respond to Zero Hour mentions.

He also repeatedly pointed to Karat, observing that she was breaking the rules.

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