DATE=3/19/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=CLINTON-SOUTH ASIA (L) NUMBER=2-260332 BYLINE=DAVID GOLLUST DATELINE=NEW DELHI CONTENT= VOICED AT: ///Eds: Clinton arrival scheduled for 8PM Local, 9:30AM EST, 3-19/// INTRO: President Clinton arrives in New Delhi in a matter of hours (eds: or shortly) to begin the first visit by a U-S President to the politically-troubled South Asia region in more than two decades. VOA White House correspondent David Gollust is in the Indian capital and filed this report. TEXT: Mr. Clinton arrives without fanfare at an air base near the Indian capital and will spend the night at a New Delhi hotel before flying to Dhaka for the first-ever visit by a U-S President to Bangladesh. Mr. Clinton had hoped to make the South Asia trip two years ago. But plans were put off after the nuclear weapons tests by India and Pakistan in 1998, and were further complicated by the flare-up of fighting by the two powers in Kashmir last year. Mr. Clinton helped defuse that crisis with a Washington meeting last July with Pakistan's former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was subsequently deposed in a military coup that chilled U-S relations with Islamabad and brought an end to talks with India. The President said before leaving Washington that he will try to reduce tensions over Kashmir. But Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger says he will not attempt to mediate the dispute because of Indian objections: ///Berger actuality/// You can only mediate a dispute if both parties want to have that done. And the Indians have made very clear that is not the way they prefer to see this issue dealt with. And we're certainly not going to interpose ourselves in a situation where one of the parties does not believe that's the right course of action. ///end act/// Mr. Berger says the President will also urge both sides to reinforce their mutual moratorium on further nuclear testing by signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and to pledge not to sell weapons technology or material to other countries. The President will visit five Indian cities over a five-day span but his stop in Pakistan will be limited to just a few hours at the close of this trip Saturday - reflecting U-S displeasure over the ouster of democratic rule. The President will stress support for a return to elected government in a televised message to the Pakistani people. In his meeting with military leader General Pervez Musharraf he will urge that the life of former Prime Minister Sharif be spared if he is convicted in his current trial on attempted murder and other charges. His visit to Bangladesh Monday is intended in part to highlight strides that country has made - despite daunting problems - to combat poverty and build an inclusive democracy. (Signed) NEB/DAG/PLM 19-Mar-2000 02:24 AM EDT (19-Mar-2000 0724 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .