Hindu Vivek Kendra
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Clinton's message to Pakistan: Inderfurth briefs Indian officials

Clinton's message to Pakistan: Inderfurth briefs Indian officials

Dawn, Karachi
March 29, 2000
Title: Clinton's message to Pakistan: Inderfurth briefs Indian officials
Publication: Dawn, Karachi
Date: March 29, 2000

WASHINGTON, March 28: The US has officially briefed India on the "tough message" delivered to Pakistan by President Clinton during his brief stopover in Islamabad.

Assistant Secretary of State Karl Inderfurth flew to New Delhi from Islamabad, shortly after the president's departure, to brief Indian national security adviser Brijesh Mishra, and met him on Sunday.

Inderfurth also met Indian Foreign Secretary Lalit Mansingh and senior officials in the ministry of external affairs for an extensive session.

According to Indian officials who later briefed journalists, Inderfurth told them that the message delivered to Pakistan by President Clinton privately in the talks was much harder than his address to the people of Pakistan.

The officials said that while India was happy with the unambiguous and consistent message that was conveyed by Clinton to General Musharraf, they had no expectation that Pakistan would quickly fall in line and end its cross-border terrorism.

Inderfurth told the Indian officials that the president had clearly indicated to Musharraf that after Kargil, "it was up to Pakistan to make the first move in restoring trust between Islamabad and New Delhi."

In response to US demands to end violence, Gen Musharraf had apparently insisted that the steps towards that goal had to be "reciprocal, but the US apparently rejected this idea."

The Indian officials said that, according to their assessment, as well as the assessment of US officials, it would be a while before the Pakistani establishment began to digest the bitter medicine administered by Clinton.

They said neither side expected any formal announcements from Islamabad that it was ready to abjure its use of force across the Line of Control.

"But if Gen Musharraf does indeed move seriously in that direction, New Delhi and Washington would want to assess the hard evidence on the ground. India and the US are likely to discuss further steps only after coming to a judgment in the coming weeks on the course Islamabad has chosen to adopt," the officials said.

Brajesh Mishra later told an Indian news agency that India was not asking for third party mediation on Kashmir when Clinton was asked to tell Pakistan to stop cross-border terrorism. "It does not amount to mediation and there is no question of mediation," Mishra said when asked to comment on the prime minister asking Clinton to tell Pakistan to stop terrorism.

" When foreign dignitaries come and tell us to exercise restraint and resume dialogue with Pakistan, we tell them why should you tell us to do that. We had exercised restraint in Kargil... You should go and tell them (Pakistan) to show restraint," Mishra was quoted as saying.

India, Mishra said, had made it clear that it was not willing to resume dialogue as long as cross-border terrorism continued.

Asked whether India expected any tangible result out of Clinton's tough talking to Pakistan on terrorism, he said: "We hope so. But on the basis of reports so far, Pakistan has not given any assurance to Mr Clinton to that effect."

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