Sunday, January 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Sinha raises Pak-N. Korea nexus with Powell
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 4
A subtle diplomatic message is being conveyed of late by the USA to the traditional rivals in the Indian subcontinent — India and Pakistan.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell telephoned External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha last night to review bilateral relations even as Washington’s relations with Pakistan are nose-diving and skirmishes have taken place between the troops of the two war-on-terror ally countries — Pakistan and the USA.

It is understood that during the 15 to 20 minute-long telephonic conversation, Mr Sinha emphatically raised the issue of North Korea and the clandestine help given to Pyongyang by Pakistan in developing its nuclear arsenal.

Though a spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs described the Powell-Sinha telephonic conversation as a “part of the series of conversations” between the two countries, well-placed sources here said the diplomatic message was unmistakable that the Indo-US relations have diversified and are already poised on a strategic pedestal.

As a demonstration of the diversification of the Indo-US relations, a key official, who is the Indian pointsman on China, is visiting Washington later this month. Mr Nalin Suri, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs and an expert on China, will be holding intensive talks with officials of the State Department.

Significantly, this will be the first time when the USA is going to hold dedicated talks on China with India. The upcoming visit of Mr Suri to the USA assumes all the more significance in view of the reports of a possible India-China-Russia trilateral axis which gathered momentum after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s three-day state visit to India in November last.

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