|Wednesday, March 22, 2000,
Narayanan: Kashmir no N-flash
New beginning in Indo-US ties
Advani, Karan condemn
Barnala lauds Punjabis role
Congress MLAs suspended from AP
DSGMC calls for bandh
Narayanan: Kashmir no N-flash point
NEW DELHI, March 21 (PTI) President K.R.Narayanan today told US President Bill Clinton that India would defend itself against aggression and indiscriminate and well organised terrorism from across the borders and rejected as "alarmist descriptions" American views that Kashmir is a "nuclear flashpoint".
Speaking at a banquet hosted by him in Mr Clintons honour, Mr Narayanan said Indias desire was to have friendly cooperation with Pakistan. "But if Indias integrity and independence is threatened, it becomes the duty of the Indian state to defend them with all resources and strength at its disposal".
"We are open to dialogue and peaceful settlement of differences. But should they have divine right of aggression and of indiscriminate and well organised terrorism across the international borders or the agreed Line of Control sanctified by solemn treaties and commitments?", Mr Narayanan asked.
Referring to American comments that the Indian subcontinent was the "most dangerous place" in the world today and Kashmir was a "nuclear flashpoint", he said "these alarmist descriptions will only encourage those who want to break the peace and indulge in terrorism and violence."
Mr Narayanan said the danger was not from India which had declared solemnly that it would not be the first to use nuclear weapons "but rather it is from those who refuse to make any such commitment."
He said India does not threaten any other country and will not engage in an arms race but will maintain a credible nuclear deterrent no more and no less for her own security.
Earlier, Mr Clinton called on Mr Narayanan at Rasthrapati Bhavan prior to the banquet hosted by the Indian Head of State.
During the 30-minute meeting, they discussed various issues ranging from bilateral relations to international affairs as also the trade and economic ties between the two countries.
Mr Clinton accompanied by his daughter Chelsea and mother-in-law Dorothy Rodham and senior officials of the US Administration was given a ceremonial welcome on the forecourt of Rasthrapati Bhavan in the morning at the beginning of his five-day visit to India.
New beginning in Indo-US
NEW DELHI, March 21 India and the USA today made a "new beginning" in bilateral cooperation by pledging to forge a durable, politically constructive and economically productive partnership between the worlds two largest democracies.
The resolve was made in a "Vision Statement" signed by the visiting US President, Mr Bill Clinton, and the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, at the end of their around two-and-a-half hours substantive talks at Hyderabad House here.
The statement, outlining the contours and defining the agenda of partnership between the two countries in the 21st century, covers a large sweep of cooperation areas. It also seeks to reconcile their differences through a dialogue and engagement.
As a first step towards deepening the Indian-American partnership in tangible ways, it was mentioned that Mr Clinton has invited Mr Vajpayee to visit Washington at a mutually convenient opportunity and the Prime Minister has accepted the invitation.
It was also agreed that henceforth, the President of the USA and the Prime Minister of India should meet regularly to institutionalise their dialogue. "We have also agreed on and separately outlined an architecture of additional high-level consultations, and of joint working groups, across the broad spectrum in which we are determined to institutionalise our enhanced cooperation. And we will encourage even stronger people-to-people ties," the statement said.
Resolving to create a closer and qualitatively new relationship between the USA and India, the two sides said in the statement that "as we now look towards the future, we are convinced that it is time to chart a new and purposeful direction in our relationship."
Noting that there have been times in the past when their relationship drifted without a steady course, the statement said their new relationship was based on globalisation, which was erasing boundaries and building networks between nations and peoples, economies and cultures.
"Together, we represent a fifth of the worlds people, more than a quarter of the worlds economy. We have built creative, entrepreneurial societies. We are leaders in the information age. The currents of commerce and culture that link our societies run strong and deep. In many ways, the character of the 21st century world will depend on the success of our cooperation for peace, prosperity, democracy and freedom", the statement said.
The statement said in the new century, India and the USA would be partners in peace, with a common interest in, and complementary responsibility for, ensuring regional and international security.
"We will engage in regular consultations on, and work together for, strategic stability in Asia and beyond. We will bolster joint efforts to counter terrorism and meet other challenges to regional peace. We will strengthen the international security system, including in the United Nations and support the United Nations in its peacekeeping efforts. We acknowledge that tensions in South Asia can only be resolved by the nations of South Asia. India is committed to enhancing cooperation, peace and stability in the region."
Making a commitment to reduce and ultimately eliminating nuclear weapons, the statement said there were differences between the two countries on how to reach this common goal. The USA believed that India should forego nuclear weapons. India believed that it needed to maintain a credible minimum nuclear deterrent in keeping with its own assessment of its security needs. Nonetheless, India and the USA were prepared to work together to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery. "To this end, we will persist with and build upon the productive bilateral dialogue already underway", the statement said.
Re-affirming their respective voluntary commitments to forego further nuclear explosive tests the two sides agreed to work together and with others for an early commencement of negotiations on a treaty to end the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. "We have both shown strong commitments to export controls, and will continue to strengthen them. We will work together to prevent the spread of dangerous technologies. We are committed to build confidence and reduce the chances of miscalculation. We will pursue our security needs in a restrained and responsible manner, and will not engage in nuclear and missile arms races. We will seek to narrow our differences and increase mutual understanding on the non-proliferation and security issues. This will help us to realise the full potential of Indo-US relations and contribute significantly to the regional and global security."
The two sides also agreed to share their experiences in nurturing and strengthening democratic institutions the world over and fight the challenge to democratic order from forces such as terrorism. "We will cooperate with others to launch an international community of democracies this year", the statement said.
Applauding Indias success in opening its economy, its achievements in science and technology, its commitment to a new wave of economic expansion and reforms, and its determination to bring the benefits of economic growth to all its people, the vision statement pledged to reduce impediments to bilateral trade and investment and to expand commerce, especially in the emerging knowledge-based industries and high-technology areas.
Saying that opening trade and resisting protectionism was the best means of preserving stability and growth in the global economy, to fight poverty in the world the two sides supported an open, equitable and transparent rule-based multilateral trading system.
Resolving to work together to strengthen it, the two countries agreed that developed countries should embrace policies that offer developing countries the opportunity to grow, because growth is the key to rising incomes and rising standards. "At the same time, we share the conviction that human development also requires empowerment of people and availability of basic freedoms."
As leaders in the forefront of the new high-technology economy, the two countries recognised that countries could achieve robust economic growth while protecting the environment and taking action to combat climate change. "We will do our part to meet the global environmental challenges, including climate change and the impacts of air and water pollution on human health."
The two sides also pledged a common effort to fight infectious diseases that kill people and retard progress in so many countries. "India is at the forefront of the global effort that has brought us to the threshold of the eradication of polio. With leadership, joint research, and application of modern science, we can and will do the same for the leading killers of our time, including AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis", the statement said.
Noting the cooperation
between Indians and Americans in advancing frontiers of
knowledge the statement said efforts must be made to meet
older challenges like eradicating human suffering,
disease and poverty. "In the past, our cooperation
helped ease mass hunger in the world. In the future, it
will focus as well on the development of clean energy,
health, and education" it said.
Indo-US pact on science,
NEW DELHI, March 21 India and the USA today signed an agreement to establish the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum to facilitate and promote interaction of government, academia, and industry in science, technology and other related areas.
The agreement was signed by the Minister for Human Resource Development, Science and Technology and Ocean Development, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, and the US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on the first day of the US Presidents state visit to India.
The forum will focus on issues of common concern and activities of mutual benefit while exploring trends in science and technology.
The forum will establish an electronic reference source in order to promote an active electronic exchange of ideas and opportunities in Indo-US science and technology cooperation.
The forum will also commission studies, reports and papers and would assist in facilitating and promoting joint collaboration of projects.
The forum will be registered as a non-profit society under the Indian Society Act and will have the ability to receive funds from public and private sources to carry out its activities.
A governing body comprising of seven members from the USA and seven from India will be established to provide guidance and the leadership to the forum.
The forum will use the USIF interest earnings originally derived from the agreement between India and the USA on educational, cultural and scientific cooperation, signed at New Delhi on January 7, 1987, to create an endowment to support the operations of the forum.
The forum in its
capacity as an Indian society, may also seek to raise
funds from industry and private sources in India and the
USA to support its activities in accordance with the
laws, regulations and policies of the country in which
the funds are being raised.
Advani, Karan condemn massacre
NEW DELHI, March 21 The brutal massacre of Sikhs in Chatti-Singhpura village in Anantnag district evoked strong reaction across the board with leaders and various organisations condemning the incident.
The Union Home Minister, Mr L.K.Advani, the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, the Minister of State for Industry, Mr Omar Abdullah, former Union Minister, Mr Surjit Singh Barnala and the SHSAD President, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, MP and Congress MP Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, were prominent among those who condemned the killings.
Describing the killings as a grim tragedy, Union Home Minister, L.K.Advani said the act appeared to be a deliberate design to see that the Sikhs also began the process of migration.
Mr Advani told correspondents that the design of the militants must be recognised and the government was conscious of it.
The Punjab Chief Minister, who was here to attend a luncheon hosted by the Prime Minister in honour of the visiting U S President, expressed deep shock over the mindless violence.
Mr Omar Abdullah, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, also condemned the incident and urged the Sikh community to face the situation with courage.
Mr Karan Singh, MP and the former Sadr-e-Riyasat, described the massacre as "a heinous act which should be condemned around the world".
"Unfortunately, despite warnings in the press and media, the Union and the state governments are evidently unable to ensure the security of the citizens in the valley and in the Jammu region where the minority communities are being systematically targeted," he said.
Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, who is Convener of Punjab Congress Parliamentary Party, described the killings as barbaric said it was aimed against the Sikhs who stood against insurgency. He said other Congress MPs from Punjab joined him in condemning the incident and he planned to visit the village shortly.
Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, former Union Minister, while condemning the killing urged the Centre and the State governments to arrest the guilty and punish them.
Describing the people living in the village as peace-loving, Mr Barnala said he feared the incident could create problems for the community all over the state.
Former President of the Peoples Union for Civil Liberties, Mr Justice Rajinder Sachar, said the act showed the desperation of the Pakistan Government and its internal collapse. He said the All Party Hurriyats Conference should now come out openly as "their silence would be disgusting".
The Kashmiri Pandits United Forum also joined in condemning the killings and said the incident proved that minorities living in the valley were sitting ducks.
HYDERABAD UNI adds: The Sikh community in Andhra Pradesh today strongly condemned the massacre.
State Sikh Welfare
Association president Mr Huzur Singh told newsmen here
that there must be a purpose behind the killing and one
of the reasons could be that the Sikhs were always in the
forefront when the country was at war with Pakistan.
Tohra suspects pro-govt groups
NEW DELHI, March 21 (UNI) Former Union Minister Surjit Singh Barnala and senior Akali leader Gurcharan Singh Tohra today said the massacre of Sikhs in Kashmir valley last night, coinciding with US President Bill Clintons visit, aroused suspicions about the motive behind the incident.
In a statement here, Mr Tohra said he saw the hand of vigilante groups behind this crime and demanded a judicial inquiry to identify the killers.
"The killing had a deliberate design and intention behind it and needs to be probed thoroughly, Mr Barnala said. If the massacre was masterminded from across the border, it would have serious repercussions, he added.
While condemning the killings, Mr Tohra said it was a planned massacre as only the heads of 36 Sikh families at Chitti Singhpura village in south Kashmir were gunned down.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) described the massacre as "most unfortunate and heinous which should be condemned by all right thinking people.
SAD (B) general secretary Onkar Singh Thapar, in a statement, appealed to the J and K Government and the Centre to take effective steps for the safety and security of Sikhs and nabbing the culprits to maintain communal harmony in the country. He appealed to the people not to be misled by anti-national forces who are bent upon creating a wedge between different communities.
Vitasta (DoV), an organisation of Kashmiri Hindu
women, said the killings, the fourth in a month, had
drawn attention towards the evil designs of further
cleansing the valley of the remaining minorities.
Congress MLAs suspended from AP Assembly
HYDERABAD, March 21 (PTI) Members of the main Opposition, Congress, were today suspended from Andhra Pradesh Assembly for disrupting proceedings of the House during Question Hour.
Speaker K. Prathibha Bharathi gave the ruling following a motion moved by Legislative Affairs Minister Y. Ramakrishnudu to suspend the Congress members.
Trouble started when the Speaker said she had disallowed the adjournment motion moved by Congress members demanding a discussion on "the kidnapping of a Congress candidate allegedly by TDP men at Dharmavaram in the just-concluded civic poll".
Sharply reacting to the ruling, Congress members sprang to their feet demanding a discussion on the issue and suspension of Question Hour. But when the Speaker refused to budge, the Congress members raised "save democracy" slogans.
The Speaker repeatedly pleaded with agitating members to resume their seats and agreed to post the issue for a short discussion tomorrow.
However, the Congress members insisted that they should be allowed to at least mention the issue, which is "grave in nature", and when the Speaker did not yield, they stalled the proceedings by shouting slogans.
Barnala lauds Punjabis
role in TN
CHENNAI, March 21 It was a sort of brief home-coming for the former Governor of Tamil Nadu, Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, who made a three-day sojourn here, participating in public functions that included the unveiling of a statue of the late Padmashri P.N. Dhawan who, as General Secretary of the Punjab Association, had pioneered efforts to set up a network of institutions and units serving the cause of education, medicare and social welfare.
Mr Barnala paid rich tributes to the memory of Mr Dhawan, who, he said, had become an inspiration for the Punjabi community in Chennai as well as for the Tamils. He said the Tamils were great people, courageous and hardworking like the Punjabis. Mr Barnala recalled his short tenure as Governor of the state and said he had learnt the local language through a tutor and had the privilege of addressing the Tamil Nadu state Assembly in Tamil.
Mr Barnala said he could visualise the difficulties through which the Punjabis who had come to Madras in the wake of the partition of the country. They were almost penniless, having lost all they had, but they had not lost their courage. He was happy that the Punjabi community had made good and contributed enormously to society by establishing Educational Institutions and engaging in social service, especially in the cause of the poor.
The President of the Punjab Association, Mr V.N. Bajaj, the General Secretary, Mr P.N. Bajaj, and Mr Harbajan Singh, also of the association, among others, praised the late Mr Dhawan for his contribution in transforming a small club of a few Punjabi members started in 1937 into a major social service organisation that the Punjab Association is today. The statue of Mr Dhawan was unveiled by Mr Barnala this morning at Lajpat Rai Bhawan.
In his other engagements, Mr Barnala spoke at the tercentenary of Khalsa organised by Developers of India, an organisation for development, progress and amity. He released on the occasion a book entitled "The spirit of Khalsa three centuries of interface", published by the organisation. Mr Barnala recalled the enormous sacrifices made by the Sikh community for the countrys independence and said Guru Gobind Singh had given a new life and thinking among the people in fighting repression. Guru Gobind was a shining example of a perfect human being capable of displaying determination, social commitment and defiance of tyranny in any form, Mr Barnala said. He also interacted with Hamsa, a group of thinkers and scholars.
In a chat with reporters
on Sunday, Mr Barnala said there could be no compromise
on the issue of preserving the basic structure of the
countrys Constitution which was now under review of
a commission. He expressed himself against Article 356 of
the Constitution, saying it had "often been
misused." He noted that in Punjab itself it had been
used seven times in the past to dismiss mostly the Akali
Dal governments. Mr Barnala was ending his Chennai visit
DSGMC calls for bandh
NEW DELHI, March 21 The Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC), plans to hold a demonstration in front of the Pakistan High Commission and a bandh in the region shortly in protest against the killings at Chatisinghpura.
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