News

USIS Washington File

19 October 1999

A Stable Pakistan in Interest of the U.S. and India, Says Inderfurth

(Assistant Secretary says U.S. is not walking away from Pakistan)
(530)
By William B. Reinckens
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington -- Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs
Karl F. Inderfurth told the annual conference of the US-India Council
October 19 that the United States is "not walking away from Pakistan
because a stable, democratic and prosperous Pakistan is in the
interest of India and the United States."

"Pakistan now is neither stable, prosperous nor democratic,"
Inderfurth said. He added that the U.S. last week cut off economic and
military aid to Pakistan as a result of the military coup.

Inderfurth welcomed the announcement by Pakistan's military army chief
Musharraf in his speech to the nation that Pakistan would withdraw
from Kashmir to international borders. However, the U.S. official
suggested that the army might want to withdraw further to the Line of
Control that was the boundary before Pakistan's incursions into
Kargil.

As Acting State Department Spokesman James Foley said earlier in the
day, "we have important areas on which we need to work with Pakistan."
Among them are promoting talks with India and trying to curb the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, Inderfurth said.

"Democracy must be restored to Pakistan. Long-term military control is
unacceptable," Senator Sam Brownback, chairman of the Senate Foreign
Affairs subcommittee on Near Eastern and Southern Asian Affairs, told
the conference.

On U.S. relations with India, Inderfurth said the recently elected
government of India's Prime Minister Vajpayee and the new coalition it
has formed represent a "continuity" that could lead to improvements in
"economic reform, rural development, and national security" for India.

He said he expects to discuss security and non-proliferation issues
with India's External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh when he arrives
in Washington next week on an official visit. These discussions were
held up because of India's political situation and the recent
elections, he said.

Inderfurth noted that in two weeks, pending Congressional passage and
President Clinton's signing into law, economic sanctions that were
imposed on India and Pakistan as a result of their testing of nuclear
devices could be lifted.

He also announced that Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson will visit
New Delhi and Varanasi next week to discuss energy and environmental
issues, marking the first high-level contact between the U.S. and
India since the Vajpayee government was sworn in October 13.

Inderfurth expressed the hope that greater "liberalization" of India's
economy would improve the U.S.-India economic relationship, which he
predicted could launch a "second generation of reform" on the
continent. He also predicted that an economic package that would
encourage more trade between the two countries would be ready next
month.

Inderfurth said he would like to see India open up its
telecommunications and insurance to investment.

India's Ambassador to the U.S. Naresh Chandra told the conference that
seven multi-million dollar power projects were approved last month and
India is opening up its oil and power resources for exploration.

(The Washington File is a product of the Office of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.)