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|August 24, 1998||
US perceives Vajpayee government as unstable, hesitant to strike a deal successor may renege on
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
The United States government does not expect any substantial headway in tonight's talks between its Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and the prime minister's special emissary, Jaswant Singh. This is because of Washington's perception that the Vajpayee government is unstable and it could collapse within a matter of weeks.
This is the appraisal of senior South Block officials who have been observing the continuing dialogue between Talbott and Singh.
Asked why Washington did not expect any concrete outcome from the ongoing round of the Indo-US talks, these officials underscored that indications emerging from the US capital seemed to convey that the Clinton administration was apparently sceptical about the Vajpayee government's stability. As a result, Washington did not want to sign any agreement that could not be ratified by the successive government, it was emphasised.
Significantly, the Clinton administration has begun a series of measures aimed at making India sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Asked to comment on reports that Jaswant Singh was likely to take up with Talbott the issue of Indian scientists being asked to leave the US, the officials said it was unlikely. "The US is a sovereign country and the US government can apply any of the country's laws," they said. They felt that Jaswant Singh, if at all, would only make a cursory mention about Indian scientists being asked to leave the US.
However, according to the officials, both sides would project the impression that some kind of outcome had been achieved in the latest round of their talks and that "the ball had been set rolling further." Already, reports in the Indian media have said India would shun the CTBT as long as it was flawed and discriminatory.
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