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September 16, 2000
Washington press pays more attention to Vajpayee
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit has received wider coverage in local newspapers than in the past, with The Washington Post devoting more than a column in an inside page to his activities on Thursday, and The Washington Times featuring its coverage on the front page.
While these two newspapers also published Vajpayee's photographs alongside their reports, The New York Times had only a photograph of his address to Congress.
The Washington Post noted that Vajpayee's warm reception in the capital contrasted sharply with the treatment accorded to the Pakistani ruler, General Pervez Musharraf, during his trip to New York for the United Nations Millennium Summit last week.
It said, "Once a close ally, Pakistan, India's arch rival, has since run foul of the United States for its links to radical Islam, including Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement."
The Post said, "Musharraf, who overthrew a corrupt but democratically elected government last year, was rebuffed in his efforts to see Clinton."
Quoting a state department official, the paper added, "It's not that we don't want to talk to him, but a meeting with the President would give the appearance that we endorse the military regime."
Referring to India's nuclear weapons programme that led to modest US economic sanctions, The Post said, "US policymakers, meanwhile, have begun to talk less about proliferation concerns and more about the need to build stronger bridges to one of the world's fastest-growing economies.
"'The best way to encapsulate this is that the day Vajpayee came to Washington (Microsoft chairman) Bill Gates was in New Delhi,' said the senior administration official, noting that much of Vajpayee's time will be taken up in discussions about reducing trade barriers between the two countries.
"On every issue that matters to Americans in their foreign policy in the 21st century, India will be an important if not critical player," the paper added.
rediff.com has assigned Associate Editors Amberish K Diwanji and Savera R Someshwar to cover Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit to the United States. Don't forget to log into rediff.com for news of this historic visit as it happens!
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