Monday, August 13, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Progress in move to lift curbs on India

Washington, August 12
President George W. Bush’s administration will start working with the Congress next month in hopes of lifting sanctions put on India after nuclear tests three years ago, The Washington Post reported today.

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told the Post that State Department officials had held some talks with lawmakers and would make progress in easing sanctions “at a speed visible to the naked eye’’ when the Congress returned from recess, the Post reported.

Once sanctions were eased, the USA could expand an evolving military cooperation in joint exercises, officer exchanges and efforts to cut piracy in the Indian Ocean, the newspaper said. “It would give us a wider range of flexibility in moving forward in these areas,’’ Adm Dennis Blair, Commander in Chief of the US Pacific Command, said.

India and the USA were to resume high-level talks on defence policy and joint operations late this year. “You’ve seen some seeds sprouting. With the (upcoming talks), we now have a way forward with these activities,’’ he said.

Although US officials do not say so, one impetus for the US interest in India might be worries among some strategic planners that China could mount a challenge to US interests in Asia, the Post said. And India had been one of the few countries to support the Bush administration’s missile defence plan.

Restrictions imposed after the May 1998 nuclear tests included a ban on military sales and a prohibition against transferring weapons technology.

Already there had been some concrete signs of warmer ties. The guided missile cruiser USS Cowpen appeared in an international naval review in Mumbai in February. Reuters


CBI notice to Tehelka scribes

New Delhi, August 12
The CBI has served notice to two journalists of to probe the alleged leaking of documents from the Home Ministry, agency sources said here today.

They said Mathew Samuel and Anirudh Bhalal — would be questioned by the agency’s special crime branch, which registered a case against Neeraj Kumar, suspended section officer in the ministry, under the Official Secrets Act.

The government had asked the agency to go into the entire circumstances under which the story was leaked to the Tehelka website.

Kumar is alleged to have leaked documents pertaining to the functioning of an NGO in the North-East.

It was learnt that Kumar shared a good rapport with Samuel, one of the Tehelka reporters responsible for the armsgate expose, the sources said. PTI

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