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|May 20, 1998||
US deplores Advani's warning to Pakistan
The Clinton administration has taken strong exception to Home Minister L K Advani's statement on Kashmir, saying it seems to indicate that India is foolishly increasing tensions with its neighbours and is indifferent to world opinion.
"We call upon India to exercise great caution in its statements and actions at this particularly sensitive time, with emotions running high," State Department spokesman James P Rubin said in Washington yesterday.
With regard to Kashmir specifically, he said, "We urge both sides to respect the Line of Control and refrain from provocative actions, including support for militant forces or cross-border pursuit of militant forces."
The spokesman volunteered the reaction on Advani's remarks. After a high-level meeting on Kashmir in New Delhi on Monday, Advani had said Islamabad should realise the change in the geo-strategic situation in the region and the world and roll back its anti-India policy, especially with regard to Kashmir.
When asked about the progress in the US's ongoing dialogue with the Pakistanis on trying to discourage them from responding to the Indian tests, Rubin said, "We are in regular consultation with many countries around the world. We're consulting closely with leaders and diplomats of all countries having strong concerns about non-proliferation."
He said the US was not aware that China is about to extend a nuclear umbrella to any country, nor would it.
Rubin said Secretary of state Madeleine Albright had been in consultations with the Chinese foreign minister and consultations had been at lower levels.
"Frankly, we were very pleased with the fact that China and the United States see eye to eye on the dangers of allowing the nuclear arms competition between India and Pakistan to spin out of control," he added.
The State Department spokesman said China had played a very restraining and helpful role in this regard. The US hoped that the discussion between China and Pakistan would certainly lead the latter to the kind of decision that President Clinton and Albright had spoken to them about.
Rubin said he did not believe the international reaction against India's nuclear tests was muted . "When the eight leading countries in the world condemn something, I think even in the language of critics, that could hardly be described as muted," he added.
He said a whole series of countries had announced economic sanctions against India. It may not be every country in the world, nor does every country in the world have the automaticity that the US has had. But clearly, this decision will redound to the disadvantage of India for a long, long time to come. "Generally speaking, we're talking about billions of dollars of economic assistance and bank loans that will not go to India that would otherwise have done so," he added.
He said Canada, Japan and New Zealand and a whole set of countries had imposed economic sanctions. "Clearly, India is far worse off," he added.
With respect to India's aspiration to be a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Rubin said, "We most certainly could not support this. Therefore, in terms of India's standing, in terms of its economic future, and in terms of its political role in the world, it has been damaged, and damaged severely," he added.
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