Sunday, November 11, 2001, Chandigarh, India





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USA to resume defence supplies
Jaswant rules out Indo-US military alliance
Hari Jaisingh

Washington, November 10
US defence supplies to India put in the cold storage following Pokhran II in May, 1998, will now be resumed as a direct result of the Atal Behari Vajpayee-George W. Bush summit here.

“This is expected to happen at the Defence Policy Group meeting scheduled to be held in New Delhi in December,” Union External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh told mediapersons here yesterday.

He said the way had been paved for the supply of additional defence items needed for the preparedness of the three armed forces. He, however, did not envisage a military alliance between the USA and India, but a “strategic relationship” not only in the region but globally. He denied that there was any proposal for a full-fledged military alliance with the USA.

Emphasising that Afghanistan, terrorism and military and defence cooperation were the three main components of the Indo-US joint statement, Mr Jaswant Singh described Mr Vajpayee’s working visit to Washington as a “total success”. The objectives that the USA and India had set for themselves has been “fully achieved.”

The External Affairs Minister stressed that in any post-conflict dispensation in Afghanistan, India’s vital stake could not be ignored. The six-plus-two mechanism had failed and proved to be inadequate. He had serious doubts about the six-plus-two arrangement meeting the requirements of the future.

On Pakistan’s cross-border terrorism, Mr Jaswant Singh said the issue had been adequately addressed in the joint statement which “refers to all manifestations of terrorism.”

Asked if the USA acknowledged India’s right to retaliate to counter Pakistan’s cross-border terrorism, he said, “Please understand that this is not a right or a dispensation or grant from anybody. If India exercises self-restraint, it is so out of self-will. Nobody need grant India the right of a sovereign country to retaliate because it is the inherent right of a sovereign country to exercise its sovereign will. It is not a handout or a dispensation.”

Mr Jaswant Singh said India’s fight against terrorism did not begin on September 11 after the airborne terrorist strikes in New York and Washington. “India’s fight against terrorism is one based on values. In fighting terrorism, India makes no distinction between acceptable and unacceptable terrorism.”

At the same time he made it clear that if Pakistan continued with state sponsorship of terrorism “India will respond to it adequately and in proper fashion should that situation ever come about.”

Meanwhile, the White House said the meeting between Mr Vajpayee and Mr Bush was “very positive, very productive.”

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, who was present for part of the Vajpayee-Bush meeting, said the President’s message on Kashmir was that both India and Pakistan should engage in peaceful dialogue for resolving all disputes.

He said he did not find India expressing any concern or disquiet about the new found closeness between Washington and Islamabad. He recalled that Secretary of State Colin Powell had made it clear to Mr Vajpayee and Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf the importance of promoting stability in the region.

Mr Fleischer said Mr Bush was gratified for the support extended by India in the fight against all forms of terrorism.Back

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