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Terrorism figures in Bush-Advani talks
T V Parasuram in Washington |
June 10, 2003 03:23 IST
Cross-border terrorism and the possibility of sending Indian troops for peacekeeping in Iraq came up for discussion at a meeting in the White House on Monday between Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani and United States President George W Bush.
The meeting lasted for half-an-hour.
Asked whether ties between India and Pakistan were discussed in detail, Advani said, "He (Bush) reflected our concerns and our problems, but not specifically."
On whether Indo-Pak relations will be discussed between Bush and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf when the military ruler visits US in the last week of this month, Advani said, "I'm sure that will be discussed."
He said Bush brought up the issue of India's contribution to peacekeeping operations in Iraq and Advani said he told the American president the Cabinet Committee on Security had discussed the issue twice and needed some clarifications.
India has so far hedged on the issue of sending troops to Iraq, where the US is finding the going increasingly hostile.
Bush, according to Advani, said he greatly appreciated peace initiatives taken by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee with Pakistan and that India can take such an initiative only if it was confident about its own security.
"Bush agreed every country has to look after its security," Advani said.
Bush, Advani added, was particularly appreciative of Vajpayee's speech in Srinagar, which provided 'political space to our neighbour'.
"We can only hope that Pakistan responds positively to this initiative and that it yields results," Advani added.
Advani said he conveyed to Bush and US National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice India's satisfaction over the kind of relationship that is developing between the two countries in various fields.
Advani said during his discussion with various key officials of the US administration he got the feeling that Indo-American relations are 'now on a different level altogether, not tied to any specific issue'.
"It is not an alliance of convenience," Advani said. "It is a principled relationship between the world's biggest democracies, the largest and the strongest. It is proceeding very satisfactorily in that direction."
"There is cooperation on various issues including defence, sharing of information on terrorism and so on," he added.
Advani pointed out that Director of India's Intelligence Bureau K P Singh was with him on this trip as also Home Secretary N Gopalaswamy.
Reflective of Washington's acknowledgement of Advani's clout, Bush invited the deputy prime minister to the Oval office as Advani went to meet Rice.
Earlier in the day, Advani had a luncheon meeting with US Attorney General John Ashcroft where terrorism figured prominently in their meeting.
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