Friday, January 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Jaswant-Powell talks focus on ultras’ list
USA anxious to see Indo-Pak dialogue
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh (R) talks to US Secretary of State Colin Powell
Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh (R) talks to US Secretary of State Colin Powell during a joint press conference at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Thursday. 
— Reuters photo

New Delhi, January 17
The list of 20 terrorists and criminals India gave to Pakistan 18 days ago was the focus of one-on-one discussions the visiting US Secretary of State Colin Powell had with his Indian counterpart Jaswant Singh.

Engaged in shuttle diplomacy, General Powell, who met Pakistani leaders in Islamabad yesterday, is understood to have discussed a formula to bridge the wide gap in perceptions of New Delhi and Islamabad on the issue of this list and ease the military stand-off between the two Asian powers.

Though the nitty-gritty of this formula would become clear in due course, it is understood that that there may be some give-and-take for both India and Pakistan. However, one thing that emerged clearly today was that Pakistan had asked for “more information” on this list of 20 which India would be sending soon.

An indication of the “frankness” of the Powell-Jaswant discussions came from the fact that General Powell, who reached here one hour behind schedule, revised his itinerary for the second time in as many days and extended his visit here by a couple of hours. A meeting with Leader of Opposition Sonia Gandhi and a second joint press conference with Mr Jaswant Singh, which did not figure in the original schedule, were added to General Powell’s Friday’s itinerary.

Sources said General Powell’s formula to de-escalate the Indo-Pak stand-off pertained to the list of 20 terrorists which New Delhi was treating as the bottom line for action by Islamabad, while the Pakistanis have been harping on “lack of evidence”.

General Powell and Mr Jaswant Singh held a joint press conference at Hyderabad House after their talks and just before dinner in which General Powell reiterated his government’s position on several points as follows:

* That Washington had no intention of mediating between New Delhi and Pakistan and the issue of Kashmir has to be bilaterally resolved by the two countries themselves.

* That the USA was “anxious” to see a dialogue begin between India and Pakistan on all issues, including Kashmir.

* That Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf had taken some steps though it was “perfectly understandable” for India to judge on the basis of measures taken by President Musharraf if they were sufficient to change Indian policies at the moment.

However, the only new point that emerged during the brief press conference was that Pakistan had asked for “more information” on the list of 20 and that India would be sending this information to Pakistan.

The sources said India was very particular on having custody of three Pak-based terrorists : Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar, underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh’s assassin Wadhawa Singh.



Fernandes meets US Security Adviser

Washington, January 17
Carrying forward India’s diplomatic offensive against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and boost bilateral military cooperation, Defence Minister George Fernandes today began talks with US National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice at the White House.

President George W. Bush is not scheduled to drop by at the meeting but he has been very actively monitoring the developments on India and Pakistan, Presidential Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said.

“It is a very sensitive region of the world. Obviously, there is tension on the border and any time you are talking about tension between two nuclear armed states, it is a matter of concern and, therefore, the President has sent Secretary of State Colin Powell to help India and Pakistan to reduce the tension,” Fleischer said. PTI



Pak keen to ease tension, says Musharraf

Officials check the recently seized accounts of banned Islamic militant groups in the Punjab provincial city of Multan
Officials check the recently seized accounts of banned Islamic militant groups in the Punjab provincial city of Multan on Thursday. Pakistan has detained more than 1,000 people in its biggest-ever crackdown on Islamic militants as it seeks to avert war with arch-rival India. —
Reuters photo

Islamabad, January 17
A day after holding talks with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today said his government was keen to ease tension with India and emphasised that the crackdown against militant groups was not done at the behest of any other country.

Speaking to a delegation of local businessmen here, Musharraf said his government wanted to bring down tensions with India and de-escalate the tense stand-off at the borders.

On the crackdown on militant groups, Musharraf said “I would like to emphasise that, whatever actions the government is taking against extremism and sectarianism is not in response to anybody’s complaint”. PTI



Musharraf’s letter for Putin

Moscow, January 17
A two-member Pakistani team is expected to arrive in Moscow on Sunday to deliver President Pervez Musharraf’s letter to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the present stand-off with India.

Musharraf’s special envoys Pashtun political leader Esfend Yar Weli and former diplomat Sheikh Negam are expected to meet with senior Foreign Ministry officials, Mayak Radio reported. PTI


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