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Tuesday, September 8, 1998
Clinton may defer visit to India
NEW DELHI, Sept 7 (PTI) The US President Mr Bill Clinton, may defer his visit to India with New Delhi unwilling to accede to Washingtons demand for signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) immediately and unconditionally, informed sources said today.
New Delhis position on the CTBT was outlined by Prime Ministers Principal Secretary Brajesh Mishra who categorically stated that India was not close to signing the treaty.
Mr Clintons visit, which was put on hold soon after the Pokhran tests in May, is unlikely to come through this year as the timeframe indicated by Washington for India to sign the treaty and firm up his programme had already been overshot, the sources said.
The American Presidents visit to Pakistan, slated during his South Asian tour, has already come under a cloud.
Nuclear tests carried out by Pakistan, its hesitation to sign the CTBT and last months US Cruise missile strikes on suspected terrorist camps in Afghanistan which angered Islamabad are factors which are raising doubts on Mr Clintons visit to the country, the sources said.
Significantly, Prime Ministers special emissary Jaswant Singh had an unannounced airport meeting with US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott in Washington last Thursday shortly before leaving for Delhi.
Official sources did not give details but merely said this was in continuation of the fourth round of the Indo-US parleys on nuclear issue held in Washington last month.
The meeting took place amidst reports that Washington was trying to get India commit itself to the CTBT to pave the way for President Bill Clintons visit to India next month.
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