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DATE=6/23/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=INDIA / UNITED STATES (L ONLY) NUMBER=2-263681 BYLINE=JIM TEEPLE DATELINE=NEW DELHI INTERNET=YES CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The United States Ambassador to India says he is encouraged by the prospect of talks in Kashmir between separatists and the Indian government. V-O- A's Jim Teeple reports the U-S envoy also says he hopes India and Pakistan will resume their suspended dialogue. Text: Ambassador Richard Celeste says he expects India's Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee will visit Washington within the next few months. Speaking to journalists in New Delhi, Mr. Celeste says he is encouraged by India's release of several leading Kashmir separatist political leaders from detention. The U-S diplomat says any political solution in Kashmir must take into account the wishes of the Kashmir people. /// OPT /// Divided between India and Pakistan, Kashmir has been the flashpoint of two previous wars between the two neighbors. ///END OPT /// Kashmir separatists have been fighting Indian security forces for more than a decade. India routinely accuses Pakistan of being behind the violence - something denied by Islamabad. While he says he is encouraged by what appears to be an opening on Kashmir, Mr. Celeste says it is too early to say whether that could lead to a broader easing of tensions between India and Pakistan. He says that probably will not happen unless Pakistan does more to ease India's security fears. /// CELESTE ACTUALITY /// For the government of India to move forward it needs more than simply a profession of interest at talks from the other side. It needs some concrete evidence that there is a willingness to reduce violence - in order for talks to take place in an atmosphere in some degree of confidence, or hope or expectation. /// END ACTUALITY /// /// OPT /// Mr. Celeste says it is up to India and Pakistan themselves to decide if they want to live in peace with each other. The United States, he says, is in no position to determine when and where a dialogue should take place but he says a good place to start is with the 1999 Lahore declaration - in which both countries agreed to ease tensions following their nuclear tests a year earlier. /// END OPT /// As far as U-S relations with India are concerned, Ambassador Celeste says he is still surprised by what he describes as the lasting goodwill generated by President Clinton's visit to India in March. Mr. Celeste says U-S investors are eagerly awaiting a second generation of economic reforms in India, and he predicts U-S investors will spend more than one billion dollars in India's insurance sector -- once it is partially opened to foreign investors later this year. (Signed) neb/jlt 23-Jun-2000 08:10 AM EDT (23-Jun-2000 1210 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .