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DATE=2/11/2000 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT TITLE=CLINTON INDIA VISIT NUMBER=5-45434 BYLINE=RAVI KHANNA DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Preparations are underway for President Clinton's scheduled trip to India next month. While security experts are checking out the cities he plans to visit in India, officials of the two countries are meeting to complete an agenda for their talks. India's foreign secretary, Lalit Mansingh, was in Washington this week for meetings at the State Department and the White House. V-O-A's Ravi Khanna reports from Washington. TEXT: Foreign Secretary Lalit Mansingh says India is excited about Mr. Clinton's visit because it will affirm what he called a new relationship between the two democracies. /// Mansingh /// So far, the two countries had seen each other through the prism of the cold war. The cold war is over and we are in direct contact with each other and we are discussing the prospects of a partnership covering wide range of areas. /// End Act /// What he did not say was that India's relations with the United States have warmed up considerably since Washington's insistence last year that Pakistan withdraw Islamic militants from Indian Kashmir and, more recently, its pressure on Pakistan to stop supporting Muslim separatist groups in Indian Kashmir. Earlier U-S administrations had never singled out Pakistan so directly. Mr. Mansingh said his talks in Washington also focused on combating terrorism and the two countries' mutual cooperation in this regard. /// Mansingh Act /// We had intensive discussions on terrorism, and the first meeting of the joint working group on terrorism met here (in Washington). We are pleased with the discussion. It is going to lead to much greater degree of cooperation between the two countries in the matter of terrorism. /// End Act /// Mr. Mansingh rejected suggestions that India does not want President Clinton to go to Pakistan during this trip. /// Mansingh Act /// We have invited him (President Clinton) and it is not a conditional invitation. It is for the American side to decide whether the president visits any other country. However, we thought as friends we will bring to their notice that there might be a public reaction in India (if he also goes to Pakistan), and this has been conveyed to them. /// End Act /// India's Foreign Secretary Mansingh also denied speculative reports that Mr. Clinton's visit to New Delhi has been linked to India signing the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. (signed) NEB/RAVI/JP 11-Feb-2000 12:04 PM EDT (11-Feb-2000 1704 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .