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Monday, September 7, 1998
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Germany may ask India to sign CTBT, NPT

BADEN BADEN, Sept 6 (PTI) — Germany is likely to press India to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) unconditionally during talks between its leaders and President K.R. Narayanan who arrived here today on a five-day visit to Europe.

Mr Narayanan, who will hold crucial talks with his German counterpart Roman Herzog on improving bilateral and commercial ties, is expected to explain in detail India’s needs to go for the recent nuclear tests, especially in the backdrop of deteriorating security environment in South Asia, and New Delhi’s stand on signing the two treaties.

The President, who will also hold discussions with Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Foreign Minister and Vice-Chancellor Klaus Kinkel, is expected to tell German leaders about the open support to terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir from across the border, Indian officials said.

The officials expressed hope that Germany, which had condemned India for its nuclear tests this May and threatened economic sanctions, may "soften" its attitude towards New Delhi after the talks.

During his fortnight-long foreign tour, Mr Narayanan will visit Portugal, Luxembourg and Turkey before returning home on September 21.

Indian officials maintained that although Germany had strongly criticised India for the tests, the bilateral ties remained unaffected. "We are having normal business," they said.

Mr Narayanan is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising Union Ministers Sikandar Bakht and P.R. Kumarmangalam, Foreign Secretary K. Raghunath and four MPs.

The two countries will have a memorandum of understanding signed during the visit for cooperation in the field of environment.

The President’s visit is also likely to pave the way for signing of an extradition treaty between the two countries to deal with the problem of terrorism.

Another agreement — "2,000 and beyond" — is also expected to be signed by the end of the month for an improved trade and commercial relations into the 21st century. Officials of the two countries are finalising these agreements.

Mr Narayanan, who had no official engagements today, will visit Black Forest near this health resort city tomorrow. The Chief Minister of the state of Baden Wuerttamberg, Nerwin Teufel, will call on him.

In Bonn, the President will address the German Society for Foreign Affairs "India: a global perspective" and meet leaders of German trade, industry and finance sectors.

In Berlin, Mr Naryanan will interact with noted academics and intellectuals at the internationally-renowned Humboldt University.

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