Index

DATE=9/15/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=CLINTON - INDIA (L-WRAP) NUMBER=2-266585 BYLINE=DEBORAH TATE DATELINE=WHITE HOUSE CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: President Clinton welcomed Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to the White House Friday in a visit that underscored the warming of relations between the two countries. Mr. Clinton praised the Indian leader for his commitment to impose a voluntary moratorium on further nuclear testing, but the issue remains an impediment to stronger bilateral ties. Correspondent Deborah Tate reports from the White House. Text: Mr. Vajpayee's visit to the White House is seen as another step in the improving relations between two Cold War rivals that began when President Clinton visited India six months ago - a point highlighted by the Prime Minister. // Vajpayee actuality // This is a time of new hope and new opportunities in Indo-American ties. // end act // Mr. Clinton, in turn, praised India for its moratorium on nuclear testing - a pledge Mr. Vajpayee spelled out in a joint statement after the meeting. // Clinton actuality // We welcome India's commitment to forgo nuclear testing until the treaty banning nuclear testing comes into force. // end act // India - which sparked fears of a nuclear arms race in the region with its tit-for-tat nuclear tests with Pakistan two years ago - is under pressure from the United States to join the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (or CTBT). The senior director for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council, Bruce Reidel, says Washington is not ready to lift the remaining sanctions on military transfers and dual use technology imposed after those tests. // Reidel actuality Clearly, if they sign CTBT we would be able to take additional steps to remove restrictions. // end act // Mr. Clinton also expressed his concern about stability on the subcontinent, and appealed to both India and Pakistan for restraint. The two leaders discussed the disputed region of Kashmir, where tensions have increased in recent weeks. U-S officials say the president called on India and Pakistan to respect the Line of Control and to find a way to renew dialogue. Officials insisted that the warming of relations with India is not intended to mean the United States does not want to continue its relations with Pakistan, which is now ruled by a military government. Later Friday, MR. Vajpayee met with Vice President Al Gore, who is running against Republican Presidential candidate, Texas Governor George W-Bush in hopes of succeeding Mr. Clinton in the White House next year. U-S officials say Mr. Clinton hopes the improvement in bilateral relations will continue no matter who wins in November's election. Mr. Vajpayee's visit to the White House Friday had to be curtailed somewhat because of his frail health. The Prime Minister is known to suffer from arthritis in his knees, and is to have knee surgery upon his return home. A news conference scheduled for late Friday had to be scrapped. Still, Bruce Reidel of the National Security Council maintained that despite his health problems, the Prime Minister was very focused. // Reidel actuality // He was very much engaged with the President and Vice President. // end act // Mr. Vajpayee will return to the White House Sunday, when Mr. Clinton will host a state dinner in his honor. (signed) NEB/DAT/PT 15-Sep-2000 20:13 PM EDT (16-Sep-2000 0013 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .