September 2000 News

United States Cannot Mediate On Kashmir: Inderfurth

17 September 2000
The Hindu

New Delhi: The United States will work with India ''across-the-board'' on a whole range of international issues including Afghanistan as part of its broad-based approach for a qualitatively new relationship, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Mr. Karl Inderfurth, said today. Responding to questions on Indo-U.S. ties, Mr. Inderfurth told ''Star News'' from Washington that the U.S. would like India to join the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in its own interests and as a world leader of disarmament. ''However, it is India''s decision as to when it should be done.'' On Kashmir, he made it clear that the ''U.S. cannot be a mediator'' and nor did it wish to ''impose'' its views on New Delhi. The U.S. recognises that this is an issue that had to be resolved ''bilaterally'' between India and Pakistan. He said the U.S. was hopeful of resumption of the stalled Indo- Pak dialogue. On the outcome of the visit of the Prime Minister, Mr. A.B. Vajpayee, he said it had helped ''further advance'' bilateral ties. This ''important'' relationship would be continued by the next administration whichever party wins. Expecting India to assume an ''increasingly important'' role in the world stage, he said the U.S. wants to build on its relations with New Delhi on a positive note. He said Washington was concerned that there were tensions in the South Asian region. ''We are concerned about India''s relations with Pakistan and we want to see those improve and the President made it clear that he will do everything he can to help that.''...most importantly, we are talking with India today in a respectful tone, seeking common grounds and doing this in a way that we think we will over a time know those differences.''Asked whether he saw a pro-India tilt in U.S. policies at the end of Mr. Vajpayee''s visit, he said, ''What we are doing is pursuing a relationship with India that is long overdue... we believe that we have to look at India on its own merits, not tied to one country or another.''


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