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An influential Republican lawmaker has demanded Islamabad conform to a laundry list of confidence building measures before Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee accepts General Pervez Musharraf's invitation to visit Pakistan.
For starters," Islamabad should immediately end its support for the Taliban who support Osama bin Laden and terrorists in Kashmir that strike at India on a daily basis," said Representative Benjamin Gilman, who chairs the powerful International Relations Committee's panel on South Asia.
"Pakistan should also end its military support for the narco dictatorship in Burma that is providing sustenance for insurgents operating against India in its northeastern states and is providing protection for narcotics traffickers," said the senior New York Congressman.
"And finally,"Gilman added, "We call on President Musharraf to end Pakistan's
alliance with the dicatorship in Beijing.
"As the government of India has pointed out, the government of China is the biggest threat to democratic India and fledgling democratic governments in Asia."
Gilman slammed Beijing for expressing strong objections last month to the Indian Defence Ministry's annual report, in which concern was stated about China's burgeoning military budget.
"China is spending annually some three times more than India is on military and defense. Missiles have been set up in Tibet targeted on India and hundreds of them are off the coast of Taiwan targeted on Taipei," he alleged.
"How does the Chinese government have the chutzpah to criticize India for merely stating facts about its military buildup while the Chinese military still occupies 38,000 square kilometres of Indian territory? "he asked. "And apart from this, Pakistan illegally handed over 5,000 square kilometers of Indian territory in Kashmir to China."
"Let's not forget," he continued, "that China still claims some 90,000 square kilometers of Indian territory in India's northeast."
"Why do Chinese officials attempt to muzzle India's defense establishment when it is only reporting the simple plain honest fact that China is building up its military and threatening its democratic neighbors?"he asked.
The lawmaker also said "Nepal's fragile new democratic government," reeling
from the massacre of the Royal family recently,"is facing a very serious threat from a strong, violent Maoist insurgency that looks to China for direction."
The US and India "must form a solid alliance that is specifically designed to promote democratic governments in the region and to combat drugs and terrorism," he argued. He then slammed both New Delhi and the US State Department for eschewing taking "the bull by its horns, and casting aside the old Cold War suspicions preventing this from happening."
Gilman noted that on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin "gave each other a bear hug and signed a so-called 'friendship treaty.'"
"What will it take for India's and our own nation's leaders to develop the proper relationship to secure our nations' interests?" he asked.
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