News

DATE=02/24/99 TYPE=U-S OPINION ROUNDUP NUMBER=6-11162 TITLE=THE INDIA-PAKISTAN SUMMIT BYLINE=ANDREW N. GUTHRIE TELEPHONE=619-3335 DATELINE=WASHINGTON EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS CONTENT= INTRO: IT WAS LAST MAY WHEN INDIA SHOCKED THE WORLD BY DETONATING A NUCLEAR BOMB, AN EXPLOSION THAT SENT PSYCHOLOGICAL, AS WELL AS PHYSICAL, SHOCK WAVES AROUND THE WORLD. IT WAS FOLLOWED, WITHIN WEEKS, BY AN EQUALLY DISQUIETING EXPLOSION FROM PAKISTAN, AS THE TWO SUB-CONTINENT ENEMIES FORCEFULLY ENTERED THE EXCLUSIVE CLUB OF ADMITTED NUCLEAR NATIONS. NOW, IN WHAT MANY OBSERVERS ARE HAILING AS AN IMPORTANT FIRST STEP TOWARD REDUCING TENSIONS IN THE REGION, THE PRIME MINISTERS OF THE TWO COUNTRIES HAVE HELD A SUMMIT IN LAHORE. WE GET A SAMPLING OF U-S PRESS REACTION NOW FROM _______________ IN TODAY'S U-S OPINION ROUNDUP. TEXT: IT WAS A BUS, AN ORDINARY BUS, THAT CARRIED INDIA'S PRIME MINISTER ATAL BIHARI VAJPAYEE ACROSS THE NORTHERN INDIAN [PUNJAB] BORDER AND INTO THE PAKISTANI [PUNJABI] CITY OF LAHORE FOR HIS SESSION WITH PAKISTANI COUNTERPART NHAWAZ SHARIF. IT WAS THE FIRST SUCH TRIP INTO PAKISTAN FOR AN INDIAN PRIME MINISTER IN A DECADE AND, FOR MANY EDITORIAL EDITORS IN THE UNITED STATES, IT WAS A MEETING LONG OVERDUE. "A NEW BEGINNING" IS THE HEADLINE IN WEDNESDAY'S [2/24] "DESERET NEWS," [PRONOUNCED: DES-UH-RHETT] THE EVENING DAILY IN UTAH'S CAPITAL OF SALT LAKE CITY. VOICE: /// OPT /// "A NEW BEGINNING FOR PAKISTAN AND INDIA?" THAT WAS THE HEADLINE IN A RECENT EDITION OF THIS NEWSPAPER. THE ANSWER SHOULD BE A RESOUNDING 'YES!' GIVEN THE EVENTS OF THIS PAST WEEKEND, IT MAY BE. /// END OPT /// ... WHAT [PRIME MINISTER] VAJPAYEE AND [MR.] SHARIF STARTED NEEDS TO CONTINUE. FRIENDLY RELATIONS BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES COULD DO MUCH TO HELP STABILITY IN THE ENTIRE REGION, GIVEN THAT BOTH NATIONS ARE INCREASING THEIR NUCLEAR CAPABILITIES. .... TO THE CREDIT OF BOTH LEADERS, THEY RECOGNIZE THAT DANGER. ... THEY PLEDGED TO REDUCE THE RISK OF AN ACCIDENTAL NUCLEAR WAR, STOP INTERFERING IN EACH OTHERS' AFFAIRS AND STRENGTHEN MUTUAL TRUST BY SUCH STEPS AS GIVING ADVANCE WARNING OF BALLISTIC MISSILE TESTS. CLEARLY THE TWO COUNTRIES NEED TO LOOK FOR PEACEFUL RESOLUTIONS TO CONFLICTS. THE TWO HAVE FOUGHT THREE WARS SINCE THEY WERE CARVED OUT OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE IN 1947 AS INDEPENDENT NATIONS. UNFORTUNATELY THEIR DISTRUST OF ONE ANOTHER HAS NOT ONLY DIVIDED THE COUNTRIES, BUT FAMILIES AS WELL. MANY HAVE NOT SEEN EACH OTHER SINCE 1947 WHEN A SEVEN-METER HIGH CHAIN-LINK FENCE WAS ERECTED TO SEPARATE THE TWO NATIONS. /// OPT /// ... THE WORDS SPOKEN BY [PRIME MINISTER] SHARIF 'THE TIME IS NOT SO FAR AWAY WHEN WE, PAKISTAN AND INDIA, WILL BE ABLE TO LIVE AS THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA' -- MUST BE FULFILLED. /// END OPT /// TEXT: FAR TO THE NORTHEAST, "THE BOSTON GLOBE" IS EQUALLY ENCOURAGED BY THIS "FIRST STEP, /// OPT /// AND REACHES INTO CHINESE HISTORY TO QUANTIFY IT. /// END OPT /// VOICE: THE BUS TRIP THAT PRIME MINISTER ... VAJPAYEE ... TOOK ... DESERVES PRAISE AS AN AUDACIOUS STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. MORE THAN GOOD INTENTIONS WILL BE NEEDED TO OVERCOME THE BITTERNESS AND MISTRUST DISTILLED FROM THREE WARS IN THE HALF-CENTURY SINCE PARTITION. ... IF THE TWO SIDES WANT TO MAKE POSSIBLE THE PEACE AND PROGRESS THEY INVOKED IN LAHORE, THEY WILL STOP THE ACTIONS OF REPRESSIVE INDIAN TROOPS AND PAKISTANI-BACKED INFILTRATORS IN KASHMIR. THEY WILL ALSO PLEDGE NOT TO DEPLOY NUCLEAR MISSILES AND WILL SIGN THE NUCLEAR TEST BAN TREATY. TEXT: TWO OF THE NATION'S LARGEST AND MOST INFLUENTIAL DAILY NEWSPAPERS, "THE NEW YORK AND LOS ANGELES TIMES" ARE ALSO TAKING NOTE OF THE HISTORIC WEEKEND SUMMIT, AND TRYING TO ASSESS ITS CONSEQUENCES. "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES" SAYS IN PART: VOICE: AFTER TWO-DAYS OF MEETINGS, THE MEN REACHED PRELIMINARY AGREEMENTS INTENDED TO REDUCE THE CHANCE OF WAR. THE TWO NATIONS AGREED TO WARN EACH OTHER OF MISSILE TESTS, EXCHANGE INFORMATION ABOUT THEIR WEAPONS AND TRY TO DEVELOP A FAIL-SAFE COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM BETWEEN THE TWO ARMIES. ... THOUGH THERE WERE NO BREAKTHROUGH AGREEMENTS, NO PLEDGES TO SIGN THE COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN TREATY, THE SUMMIT WAS AN IMPORTANT STEP FORWARD. ... THEY HAVE TO KEEP MOVING FORWARD AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF A TOO-SELDOM-SEEN OPPORTUNITY TO REDUCE TENSIONS IN SOUTH ASIA. TEXT: LASTLY, "THE NEW YORK TIMES" SUMS IT UP THIS WAY, COMPLIMENTING BOTH MEN ON THEIR COURAGE AS WELL AS THEIR VISION. VOICE: /// OPT /// IT TOOK COURAGE FOR MR. VAJPAYEE AND MR. SHARIF TO MEET AND REDOUBLE THEIR NEGOTIATING EFFORTS WHILE BOTH ARE UNDER FIRE FROM EXTREMISTS AT HOME. MR. VAJPAYEE'S DECISION TO ... PAY THE FIRST VISIT TO PAKISTAN BY AN INDIAN PRIME MINISTER IN 10-YEARS WAS A REBUKE TO HINDU NATIONALISTS IN HIS OWN RULING COALITION WHO BELIEVE THAT PAKISTAN HAS FOMENTED THE MUSLIM REBELLION IN THE INDIAN STATE OF KASHMIR. /// END OPT /// ... O TRANSLATE THE CORDIAL EXPRESSIONS OF LAHORE INTO ACHIEVEMENTS, BOTH COUNTRIES MUST NOW WORK HARD TO SIGN A COMPREHENSIVE NUCLEAR TEST BAN TREATY, WHICH THEY PLEDGED TO DO LAST FALL. IF THE SPIRIT OF LAHORE CAN BE TRANSLATED INTO CONCRETE STEPS, THE WAY MAY BE CLEAR FOR THE LONG-DEFERRED VISIT LATER THIS YEAR BY PRESIDENT CLINTON. /// END OPT /// TEXT: THAT ENDS THIS SAMPLING OF EDITORIAL COMMENT FROM THE U-S PRESS ON THE JUST-COMPLETED INDIA-PAKISTANI SUMMIT IN LAHORE. NEB/ANG/RAE 24-Feb-99 2:32 PM EST (1932 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .