INTRO: India's Prime Minister says his country's
decision to test nuclear weapons cast a shadow over
relations with the United States. But in a speech to
a joint meeting of the U-S Congress, Atal Behari
Vajpayee urged America to understand India's security
concerns. V-O-A's Paula Wolfson reports from Capitol
TEXT: Prime Minister Vajpayee says India and the
United States have much in common and the relationship
must move forward, regardless of the dispute over
/// VAJPAYEE FIRST ACT ///
Let us remove the shadow of hesitation that lies
between us and our joint vision. Let us use the
strength of all we have in common to build
together a future that we wish for ourselves and
for the world that we live in.
////END ACT ///
India's decision to test nuclear weapons two years ago
was condemned by many in Congress, and resulted in U-S
sanctions. The Prime Minister told the legislature
that his country had no choice.
/// VAJPAYEE SECOND ACT ///
India understands your concerns. We do not wish
to unravel your non-proliferation efforts. We
wish you to understand our security concerns.
//// END ACT ///
He said India lives in a dangerous part of the world.
He did not mention Pakistan by name. Instead, he spoke
about terrorist threats and religious war.
// VAJPAYEE THIRD ACT ///
You know and I know: such evil cannot succeed.
But even in failing, it will inflict untold
////END ACT ///
/// OPT /// Mr. Vajpayee said the United States and
India should redouble their efforts to combat
terrorism. He also called for a joint crusade against
///VAJPAYEE FOURTH ACT //
We believe that India and America can - - and
should - - march hand in hand towards a world in
which economic conditions improve for all.
/// END ACT /// (END OPT)
The Prime Minister's speech was frequently interrupted
by applause. And despite the pressures of completing
work on important budget legislation, the House
chamber was filled for the address.
Mr. Vajpayee entered the hall slowly, with an aide
nearby. He seemed frail - the result of a knee
problem that has hampered his ability to walk and
stand. In a break with tradition, he delivered his
speech from a chair placed on the speaker's podium.
But his voice was strong, and the legislators listened
/// OPT /// Outside the House chamber - - at the far
end of the Capitol grounds - - a group of
demonstrators also tried to get a message to Congress.
About 100 members of the Indian-American Christian
community turned out for the rally. They carried
signs that said "stop harassment of Christians" and
"end religious persecution in India."
Vishal Mangalwadi - - a writer from northern India - -
joined the protest.
//// MANGALWADI ACT ///
As Mr. Vajpayee became Prime Minister of India,
his followers - - or the group that he belongs
to - - started persecuting Christians,
particularly those who serve the poor and the
/// END ACT ///
The demonstrators also sent a letter to the Prime
Minister laying out their concerns. ///END OPT ///
Mr. Vajpayee is scheduled to spend four days in
Washington. He meets with President Clinton on
14-Sep-2000 13:00 PM EDT (14-Sep-2000 1700 UTC)
Source: Voice of America