United States Can Play A Positive Role In Kashmir: Clinton
15 September 2000
Washington DC: The U.S. President, Mr. Bill Clinton, has said that even as the United States can play a positive role to a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir ''dispute'', which has been at the core of difficulties between India and Pakistan, ''we will have to oppose terrorism in all its manifestations.'' Speaking to a local correspondent at a function on the lawns of the White House yesterday, Mr. Clinton said the U.S. was strongly opposed to terrorism in any form and hoped that because of the groundwork his administration had laid ''the United States can play a positive role to a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute, which has been at the core of difficulties between India and Pakistan for more than a half century now.'' Asked what he expected from the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee''s official visit, the U.S. President said India was the world''s largest democracy. ''We need to have a better and closer and more constructive relationship with them, and I hope that this will be the next step in that, and I think we will make some specific agreements.'' The Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Mr. Brajesh Mishra, did not react to Mr. Clinton''s remark that Kashmir was at the core of the difficulties between India and Pakistan. However, he said, ''we have not come here to discuss the Kashmir issue.'' Mr. Mishra, who was briefing the media, said Mr. Vajpayee''s speech at the joint meeting of the Congress had been very well received by Congressmen, some of whom he met at the meetings of the House International Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He said the focus at these discussions was on Indo-U.S. relations and what more could be done to bring the two countries closer and deepen the relationship. Mr. Mishra said Mr. Vajpayee''s proposal for global conference on development was not discussed. He said the discussions were held in an amicable and friendly manner. Asked about U.S. sanctions against India, Mr. Mishra said ''we did not plead for lifting of sanctions.'' He said terrorism did figure during the discussions but Pakistan did not come up. Mr. Vajpayee had raised the issue of terrorism at the United Nations. He did not raise it during discussions with Congressmen nor was it raised by anyone.