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October 21, 1999
US will urge Pak to end terrorism
C K Arora in Washington
The Bill Clinton administration will pursue with Pakistan India's demand for ending cross-border terrorism as part of the United States' on-going efforts to ensure resumption of the Lahore peace process which broke down in the wake of the Kargil conflict.
Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Karl F Inderfurth made this observation while replying to a question at a hearing on ''immediate challenges to US policy in South Asia'' in the House of Representatives' panel on Asia and the Pacific.
India on Tuesday rejected Pakistani military ruler General Pervez Musharraf's offer of de-escalating tension on the border, asserting that Islamabad continues to sponsor cross-border terrorism along with attempts to transgress the Line of Control in Kashmir.
Inderfurth also made it clear that the Clinton administration had neither any plan nor intention to use its proposed authority to waive the Pressler or the Glenn Amendments to re-establish arms supply to Pakistan.
He made this categorical statement in response to a query by Democratic Congressman Gary Ackerman, thus setting at rest apprehensions voiced through press statements by Congressmen friendly to India.
He also indicated that President Bill Clinton could consider lifting sanctions on India, but cannot resume 'business as usual' with Pakistan until democracy is restored there. The two countries attracted these curbs after their May 1998 nuclear tests.
The one-year authority which Congress gave to the president to waive sanctions expires today. But a new law, awaiting his signature, grants him powers to waive sanctions indefinitely.
Arona Butcher, who heads the country and regional analysis division in the US International Trade Commission, told the committee that the likely impact of re-imposition of US sanctions on India and Pakistan was ''relatively small.''
Butcher said US companies had complained that ''the main impact of these sanctions is increasing the perception that US companies could be unreliable suppliers.''
Inderfurth said, ''We will also focus intensely on the future of the Indo-American relations. President Clinton is acutely aware that, as the first American president elected since the end of the cold war, he has an unprecedented opportunity to put our relations with India on a substantively different footing.''
He added, ''No longer do New Delhi and Washington find themselves at cross-purposes because of cold war constraints. In the words of Prime Minister (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee, we are 'natural allies'.''
''To define that new relationship and to invest it with the broadest and deepest possible meaning, we have to address the complex set of issues that surfaced with the Indian nuclear weapons tests in May 1998, from our perspective and from India's,'' he explained.
He said, ''Our ability to move forward and the extent of our future co-operation will be influenced by the progress we make, particularly in the non- proliferation area.''
Turning to Afghanistan and the Taliban, who persisted ''in defying international opinion by sheltering Osama bin Laden and other terrorists,'' he said the US was prepared to work with the Taliban to rid Afghanistan of terrorist networks.
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