Sunday, September 3, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

PM not to meet Musharraf
USA backs India’s move on terrorism 

WASHINGTON, Sept 2 (PTI) — The USA has pledged full support of G-8 nations to an Indian proposal for a UN convention on terrorism.

At a meeting between Foreign Secretary Lalit Mansingh and us Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering at the State Department yesterday, the USA also shared India’s concerns about the growth of the narcotics trade “In our neighbourhood, especially in Afghanistan,” Mr Mansingh said.

The talks, which combined a third round of regular Indo-us consultations at the Foreign Secretary level with the agenda for Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s visit to Washington, also included discussions on the possibilities of renewing the Fulbright Agreement, which envisages exchange of scholars between India and the USA.

Referring to Mr Vajpayee’s visit, Mansingh said his schedule will be expanded in Washington to enable those he was to have met on the west coast to interact with him but, in New York, “We will have to provide some period of rest after the hectic programme” before his visit to Washington.

The Foreign Secretary also ruled out any meeting between Mr Vajpayee and Pakistan’s military ruler General Pervez Musharraf in New York, adding there was also no role for Islamabad in the discussions on Kashmir between “our authorities and our people in Kashmir. We have given our assessment to the Americans of the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir.”

On the issue of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, he said that India’s stance that a consensus has to evolve on the issue remains the same, adding on both the CTBT and the fissile material cutoff treaty the gap between the countries’ positions had been narrowed but not yet bridged.

The subject of US sanctions against India was, however, not brought up in the two-day talks, Mr Mansingh said, pointing out that the Americans “very well know our opposition to sanctions. We consider them to be counterproductive and ineffective but we have not appealed to them to remove them.”

On the issue of Security Council permanent membership for India, he said that he could not say what the Prime Minister will discuss during his talks in Washington but “We have declared our candidature and we expect all our friends to support us.”

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