Press Briefing by Senior Director, Near East and South Asian Affairs and National Security Council, Bruce Riedel and Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, Rick Inderfurth (9/15/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

Immediate Release                        September 15, 2000

                              PRESS BRIEFING
                              RICK INDERFURTH

                     The James S. Brady Briefing Room

3:50 P.M. EDT

     MR. CROWLEY:  Good afternoon.  We are very pleased to have Prime
Minister Vajpayee of India with us today, visiting with the President.  He
also had a meeting with the Vice President this afternoon.  And here to
give you a read out of the day's activities are two of our regional

     Bruce Riedel will start off, he's Senior Director of the NSC for Near
Eastern and South Asian Affairs.  And he'll be followed by Rick Inderfurth,
who is the Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs.  We'll
start with Bruce.

     MR. RIEDEL: Thank you, PJ.  As those of you who traveled with the
President to South Asia in March know, the President has wanted to make
this year the year of really fundamental change in the relationship between
the United States and India.  He has been seeking to broaden, deepen and
diversify this relationship; really to change the terms of reference, the
whole paradigm of the relationship.

     And today was another step in that process of moving this relationship
to a higher plateau and to increasing the relationship between the world's
oldest democracy and the world's largest democracy.

     As the President said in his opening remarks, which some of you I'm
sure saw, to the press, for too long there has been too little contact and
too much suspicion between the United States and India.  And we are trying
to move that to a long-term relationship built upon mutual respect and
dealing with all of the issues that confront our two countries.

     It is unprecedented in the history of this relationship that we would
have two summit meetings in less than six months, but I think it is a
reflection of the determination of the President and the Prime Minister to
change this relationship and to make it much stronger and long lasting.

     The President met with the Prime Minister first for about a half hour
after the arrival ceremony, in a restricted meeting with the Prime
Minister, the Foreign Minister, his National Security Advisor, Mr. Mishra;
and, on the American side, the President, with the Secretary of State, Mr.
Berger, and Mr. Sperling.

     They then had another meeting of about 40 minutes with an expanded
group, including many members of the Cabinets on both sides.  The Prime
Minister then left the White House and went over to the Department of
State, where he was hosted at a lunch given by Vice President Gore.

     At the conclusion of that lunch, the Prime Minister and the Vice
President had a separate small meeting of, again, about a half an hour.

     I would say the highlights of the meeting between the President and
the Prime Minister was, they agreed from the beginning on the need to
continue to accelerate the upward path in this relationship.  They reviewed
the progress that we have made since March.

     As you will recall, in March the President and the Prime Minister
signed a vision statement for the future of U.S.-Indian relations, and they
laid out a program of work for intense meetings between officials at all
levels in their governments.  Those meetings have happened.  For example,
Secretary Albright has met three times with her counterpart since March.

     They discussed the need to continue to find ways to put more depth
into this relationship, and Rick, in a few minutes, is going to go through
some of the particulars.

     Let me just cover a few of the other issues.  Naturally, the issue of
nonproliferation and arms control was raised.  The Prime Minister
reaffirmed India's commitment to a moratorium on nuclear testing, a
commitment to a moratorium that he said would stay in place until the
comprehensive test ban treaty came into effect.

     The President reaffirmed our desire to see India continue to move
towards accepting international norms on nonproliferation, including CTBT,
and joining in the fissile material cutoff negotiations, hopefully leading
to an agreement there.

     They reviewed various global issues, including what is going on in
Russia, China.  They discussed high oil prices, the impact that has on both
developed and developing countries.  India and the United States have been
among the two most leading countries in urging action to bring down oil

     They reviewed the situation in South Asia.  The Prime Minister, in
particular, wanted to raise with the President the situation in
Afghanistan, India's concerns about the nature of the Taliban government
and its connection with international terrorist organizations -- concerns,
which of course we fully share and agree with.

     The two leaders agreed to set up a framework for talks between our two
countries to deal with our common concerns about Afghanistan.  They also
discussed the tensions between India and Pakistan.  The President
reiterated the views that he laid out in March about the need for respect
by both sides for the line of control, a renunciation of violence, use of
restraint in responding to violence, and finding a way when conditions are
appropriate to renew the dialogue between India and Pakistan.

     In the larger meeting there was a great deal of discussion about
economic issues, and again here I think I'll let Rick go through those in
detail.  They also discussed the need for energy cooperation, for working
together against all kinds of international problems, from global warming
to the AIDS epidemic.

     Let me just close by saying a word or two about the meeting between
the Vice President and the Prime Minister.  The Vice President wanted to
make clear to the Prime Minister that he fully supports the efforts of
broadening and strengthening the relationship between the United States and
India, and he pledged that if he is elected, he will continue along the
same path of trying to build a stronger and deeper relationship between our
two countries for the 21st century.

     With that, why don't I let Rick go through the particulars.

     MR. INDERFURTH:  Bruce has said that I will give you more depth about
the particulars here.  Let me mention one other thing that the President
said in the larger meeting in the Cabinet Room that I found particularly
important, because what this summit has been about is adding to the
foundation laid with the President's visit to India in March, the very
highly successful visit, and building on that.

     It's very clear that because of these two meetings happening so
quickly that there is a seriousness by both governments and countries to do
all that we can, as quickly as we can, to capture and build on the

     The President said that -- in his comments to the Prime Minister, he
said, I want to leave this relationship in the best possible shape for my
successor so that he can pick up the ball and run with it.  And I think
that that's the spirit in which we have been working so that this
relationship is, indeed, in its best possible shape and that it will be
carried through into the next administration and beyond.

     Now, Bruce has spelled out for you what was discussed.  Let me now
talk about what has been accomplished with this visit by the Prime
Minister.  And I apologize in advance for giving you, perhaps, a little
more detail than you had bargained for, but there have been a number of
things taking place which you may not be aware of and I'd like to mention
those as quickly as I can.

     First of all, we are finalizing a joint statement which we will have
available for you later this afternoon.  For those that are familiar with
the trip by the President in March, we had a vision statement.  We don't
need to recreate that vision, it will be reaffirmed in this joint
statement.  And we'll also talk about the progress and the things that we
have done since March, in terms of the institutional dialogue which sets
out how we will pursue this relationship across the board.

     The joint statement will also give highlights of the areas of
cooperation that we are pursuing.

     Now, in addition to the Prime Minister's schedule and his meetings
with the President, over the last three days there have been a number of
other important events and meetings taking place.  A commercial dialogue
has been launched by Finance Minister Sinha and Commerce Secretary Mineta.
U.S. and Indian business representatives, as well as government
representatives participated in that.  There has been a further session of
Mr. Sinha with Treasury Secretary Summers, of the Indian-U.S. financial and
economic forum.

     There has also been a meeting of the Indo-U.S. business dialogue on
clean energy.  Gene Sperling presided over a round-table discussion on
HIV-AIDS.  I should tell you that that subject was discussed at length at
the session, the larger session with the President and the Prime Minister.
And Gene Sperling, as I said, presided over a round-table yesterday with
industry, focused on HIV-AIDS awareness in the workplace.

     I should also mention that USAID has committed an additional $3
million for HIV funding in this fiscal year to work with the Indian
government in addressing this problem.

     There has also been meetings, as a part of the Prime Minister's visit,
on science and technology.  U.S. and Indian scientists have gathered at NIH
this week for a high-level round-table on science and technology
cooperation.  That very much relates to the science and technology forum
which was announced when the President was in New Delhi in March.

     Now, on agreements signed, there have been several commercial
projects, three contracts for American companies to undertake power
projects were signed at the Thursday meeting of the U.S-India Commercial

     The Department of Energy has signed an agreement with the India Power
Ministry, resuming bilateral consultations on energy.  USAID has signed
several agreements, a total of five, including some on microfinance
programs.  The Export-Import Bank has signed three agreements, including an
MOU dealing with financing for small and medium-sized enterprises.

     In addition to these agreements signed, we've also seen progress being
made on a number of issues, including biotechnology, civil aviation, trade
and finance, including textiles, double taxation, and an issue not on the
economic and commercial side, but a mutual legal assistance treaty.  We're
making progress and hope to see that come to a conclusion soon.

     Now, in addition to these parts of the visit, I do want to stress, as
the President did in his statement at the arrival this morning, that we are
focusing on people-to-people elements of our relationship; the
Indian-American community that serves as a bridge between our two

     The President mentioned that there will be the Gandhi Memorial
tomorrow, and he will participate in that.  We also have, in the joint
statement, you will see a reference to the Global Institute of Science and
Technology.  Now, this is a private initiative, but its business leaders of
Indian origin have raised over a half-billion dollars towards establishment
of world-class research universities in India.  And these institutes will
cooperate with U.S. universities.  So that is one example of the kind of
people-to-people initiative that we want to see more of.

     Now, in terms of next steps.  Clearly, this administration's time in
office is beginning to come to a conclusion, but even with the remaining
time between now and next January, we do expect to see possibly some
additional Cabinet-level visits.  We have, I think, two Supreme Court
Justices that will be traveling to India.

     We will have a meeting of the counter-terrorism working group, the
next meeting scheduled for the end of September in New Delhi.  Ambassador
Michael Sheehan will lead that delegation.  At the end of September there
will also be a visit to New Delhi of Admiral Dennis Blair, who is Commander
of the Pacific Command.

     We will also have, and I mentioned earlier science and technology, the
first official meeting of the Science and Technology Forum, which was
announced with the President's visit, is likely to take place in November.
There is a possible exchange between our Department of Transportation and
the Indian Ministry of Transportation, with officials discussing surface
transportation possibly at a conference in October.

     And, finally, the FCC Chairman is traveling to New Delhi at the end of
September for discussions on telecommunications.
     So, again, I apologize for perhaps a little more detail than you might
have wanted to have, but the point is that this trip was not only about
building a new relationship and continuing what we have done with the
President's visit in March, but it is also filled with the substance of a
bilateral relationship which is expanding, which is broad based and we
think has great potential for the future and one that we believe will be
built on with the next administration.

     So, PJ.

     Q    Can you clear one misunderstanding?  It appears the President
yesterday used the word -- Kashmir is a core issue with India and Pakistan.
And that, if I understand right, has created a lot of misunderstanding --
and some Indian sources -- a slip, a kind of -- to the old.  Not exactly a
-- but something approaching that.  Is it finally out of the way?  And,
secondly, was there any discussion on India's desire for a permanent
Security Council seat, and not the usual excuse that the region-- others
can decide, because no other country, except China, which can compare in
population and size and potential.  So was this discussed at all?

     MR. RIEDEL:  For the benefit of those who are not steeped in South
Asian press corps lingo, "core issue" is, I believe, a phrase frequently
used by Pakistani leaders in discussing Kashmir.

     Let me be clear.  The President's use of that terminology in no way
indicated any change in the U.S. position.  The United States' position was
clearly laid out by the President when he was in New Delhi, when he was in
Islamabad, and he reaffirmed that position today to the Prime Minister.

     We believe that the solution to the problem of Kashmir is best
advanced through the points I laid out earlier:  restraint on both sides,
respect for the line of control, denunciation of violence, and at the
appropriate time when the atmosphere is correct, a return to a dialogue
between India and Pakistan.

     We do regard Kashmir as an important issue between the two, one of the
central issues that obviously needs to be resolved.  But I think to read
into the President's use of the word "core" any tilt whatsoever would be a

     On the second issue, there was a brief discussion of the need for
Security Council expansion, and on that, our position has been, and
continues to be, that India would obviously be a candidate, a strong
candidate for Security Council membership.  But it was not a subject of a
great deal of discussion today.

     MR. RIEDEL:  Can I add one thing to that?  In terms of the United
Nations, one thing that was discussed at some length was our mutual
interest to see U.N. peacekeeping strengthened.  While Security Council
expansion clearly has some time to go before there is a resolution of that,
U.N. peacekeeping is an immediate concern.  There was discussion of Sierra
Leone.  The Indian government has been very concerned about that operation.

     India has made a very important contribution of U.N. peacekeepers to
the operation.  Secretary Albright raised the Brahimi Report, which was
issued recently, a detailed report of a number of experts on how to
strengthen the mechanism of U.N. peacekeeping.  And I think that as a
result of discussions today, that we will be seeing greater cooperation
between the United States and India on peacekeeping, including on what we
can respectively do to enhance that very important mechanism.

     Q    Did India show any more willingness to sign, or any willingness
to sign the comprehensive test ban treaty?  And, also, how significant is
its commitment to forego any future testing until that treaty comes into

     MR. INDERFURTH:  I think what Bruce mentioned, in terms of what the
President had said on that subject -- I'm told that we now have a finalized
joint statement, which will be down in about 15 minutes.

     You will see in the joint statement, I think that that will speak in
many ways for itself -- on the issue of nonproliferation, there is no
question that we are continuing this dialogue that has been conducted by
Deputy Secretary Talbott and External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh for
over two years.  We have differences in this area, but we have differences
in which we are now trying to address them in the manner in which the
President spelled out in his arrival statement, with respect and trying to
see if we can find some common ground.

     We are making some progress in this area.  And, as the President said,
the Indians have reaffirmed that they will continue their voluntary
moratorium on nuclear explosive tests until the comprehensive test ban
treaty comes into effect, subject to its supreme national interests, which
is a clause that is contained in the CTBT.

     We also have in a statement that the government of India will continue
efforts to develop a broad political consensus on the issue of the treaty,
with the purpose of bringing these discussions to a successful conclusion.

     I might add that the U.S. reaffirmed its intention to work for
ratification of the treaty at the earliest possible date.  We, too, have
had difficulty developing a, if you will, national consensus on this issue.
And I think this statement will spell out in detail where both governments
are on that.

     We also talk about our joint desire to see fissile material, cut off
treaty and negotiations begin in Geneva.  We also talk about, and the two
leaders commended the progress made so far, on export controls and pledged
to continue to strengthen them.  So I think it's a very full statement on
this, but I think it's a significant one.  And it's one that will continue
as part of our dialogue with the Indian government.

     Q    Rick, is there anything new?  Did you learn anything new as a
result of this visit on the CTBT/proliferation issue?

     MR. INDERFURTH:  Well, I think this will be the first time we have
spelled out in a statement with the Indian government its intention to
continue its voluntary moratorium on nuclear tests until CTBT comes into

     This is a new element.  They have reaffirmed it.  They have said it in
other ways in the past.  I think that that is what you could point to as a
new addition.  There are other elements of this, including what is stated,
that India also reaffirmed its commitment not to block entry and to force
the treaty -- that was stated by Prime Minister Vajpayee at the United
Nations two years ago.

     But I think what you have here is a clear indication by the Indian
government that it is continuing to work to build a national consensus with
the hope that it will lead to a successful conclusion of this issue.  And
we continue to wish the Indian government every great success in doing so.

     Q    On that issue, it's my understanding, though, that the Indian
government had indicated to the United States that they would initiate a
debate in parliament during the recent monsoon session, and that they did
not do so.  Can you respond to that?

     And my second question, when the President was in South Asia he said
that there were elements of the Pakistani military who are involved in
supporting Islamic extremist groups.  And I'm wondering if you've seen a
diminution of that support and whether or not you can add anything, respond
to the Indian charges that
Pakistan was responsible for the collapse of the recent talks with the
Hezbollah Mujaheddin in Kashmir.

     MR. INDERFURTH:  I'll continue on the CTBT, and then ask Bruce to take
the other one, if that would be all right with you.

     We had hoped, and the Indian government had told us that they hoped to
bring CTBT to the parliament for debate during the monsoon session, which
ended, I guess, about a week ago Friday.  In fact, I think Prime Minister
Vajpayee had said that publicly, and we recognize that that is an important
and, indeed, an essential ingredient of India's being able to bring about a
national consensus.

     There would be no vote in the Lok Sabha, their lower house, but a
debate is something that is part of their building a national consensus.

     Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, including the tragic death of
the Power Minister, that meant that in the final days there was an
adjournment of parliament to pay respect to him, that that debate did not
take place.  We hope when the winter session begins in November, that it
would be possible to bring the CTBT to the parliament for debate, and that
in the meantime, additional efforts will be made to build a national

     This will be important to allow us to make concrete progress with the
Indians' own nonproliferation, so that, as many U.S. officials have made
clear, that our relationship can reach its full potential.

     There is a lot that we can do, as I have spelled out in the material
that I've provided; but there's a lot more we can do if we continue to make
progress in this area.  So we're hopeful that in the winter session, that
there will be that debate.  But in the meantime, what you will see in this
joint statement is a very firm statement by the Indian government of where
it is on nuclear testing and where it intends to be, which is, they do not
intend to test any further.

     MR. RIEDEL:  Let me just add one other thing about the CTBT.  The Vice
President, in his meeting with the Prime Minister, reaffirmed to him what
he has said to the American people, which is that it is his determination
that one of the very first things he will do if elected to President, is to
submit the CTBT again to the Senate, and that he is a strong supporter of
that treaty.

     Let me turn to the question of Pakistan and Kashmir.  We have been
concerned about connections between some elements in Pakistan, and what
goes on in Kashmir.  We do believe that Pakistan has a role to play, both
in resolving the Kashmir problem and in helping to defuse tensions there.

     We have been urging the government of Pakistan for some time.  The
President did it both in private and in public when he was there, to take
steps to try to reduce the level of violence.  We have seen some
encouraging steps in the months since March -- the release of prisoners by
India, the cease-fire that you referred to and India's response to it; some
reduction in activity along the line of control.  It is not enough.  We
need to see more.  We need to see both parties take steps to try to bring
about a reduction in the level of violence.

     The President, in his meeting with the Prime Minister, reaffirmed our
fundamental view, which is, there is no military solution to this problem,
and it must be resolved through a process of dialogue, both between India
and elements in Kashmir.  And ultimately we hope in a renewal of the
dialogue that the Prime Minister so bravely pushed forward in his trip to
Lahore two years ago.

     Q    I'm sorry, I was asking, though, have you seen any diminution in
support for the Islamic militants in Kashmir by the elements in Pakistan?
And do you see any substance to Indian charges that it was Pakistan who
basically put the kibosh on a cease-fire in the talks between India and
Hezbollah Mujaheddin?

     MR. INDERFURTH:  We've not seen, unfortunately, sufficient diminution
in the level of violence in Kashmir.  As I said, we've seen some steps, but
certainly not sufficient diminution.

     On the second question, I think the fate of the cease-fire by the HM
is a complex subject.  What I think is most useful to point out there is
what the President said to the Prime Minister.  The President noted that he
has had now almost eight years of experience in dealing with a great number
of very difficult political problems, like Kashmir -- Northern Ireland, the
Balkans, the Middle East, others.  And the lesson he has learned from that
is that you have to expect that the road to a better future will be a bumpy
one and that it requires a great deal of patience and perseverance in order
to get there.

     And he praised the Prime Minister for his efforts since he came to
power at Lahore, his restraint over Cargil, his restraint over the
hijacking last year; his efforts to try to find ways to advance a political
process here.

     Q    Two questions.  In the list that you offered of the economic
exchanges back and forth, do they conflict in any way with any remaining
sanctions that are in place with India?  Was there any discussion of
sanctions?  Can you tell us sort of where those stand right now?

     And, secondly, in your mention, Mr. Riedel, of the Vice President's
comments and the President's comments on CTBT, was there any indication
from either side that the Senate's refusal to pass that so far has given an
incentive to India also to slow down?  Did the Indians say at any point, we
can't do it until you do?  Did the Vice President or the President comment
on that --

     MR. RIEDEL:  No, nothing in the joint statement and in the agreements
that have been signed or that are contemplated conflict with those
sanctions that remain in effect after India's nuclear tests.  The Glenn
amendment did go into effect after the nuclear tests in May of 1998.  The
President has waived a number of these sanctions, under the authority
provided him by Congress since that time.  In practical terms, the
remaining sanctions relate less to economic activity than to military or
dual use activities.

     There remains a prohibition on direct military sales or financing.
There remain prohibitions on licenses for munitions list exports.  There is
a continuing restriction on U.S. support for non basic human needs lending
by international financial institutions.  But with those exceptions, the
steps taken by the President under the authority granted by Congress, have
allowed resumption of OPEC investment insurance, Ex-Im Bank, U.S.
commercial bank lending to the Indian government, USDA agricultural credit

     Prior to his visit to India, the President waived sanctions on a
number of economic and environmental programs.  So the basic point here is
that with few exceptions, our economic relations are moving forward, but
there are continuing restraints in these other areas, and that's why we are
hoping for more progress in our discussions with the Indian government on
nonproliferation.  And that's why we have said that until we are able to
make more progress, we will not have the full potential of our relationship

     But this is something that the Indian government recognizes, it was
not dwelt upon in the meetings, but they certainly have expressed, as they
did today, a desire to see all inhibitions removed in the relationship so
we can move forward.

     We agree with that.  We want to have that same full dimension to the
relationship that the Indian government wants, and we'll keep working
toward that objective.

     Q    That means CTBT before they would --

     MR. INDERFURTH:  What I've just mentioned are those things that remain
in effect as a result of their nuclear tests.  Clearly, if they sign CTBT,
we would be able to take additional steps to remove restrictions.

     Q    I'm sorry, could I get an answer to --

     MR. RIEDEL:  -- the same question very simply.  Both the President and
the Vice President indicated their regret at the vote in the Senate against
the comprehensive test ban treaty.  Nobody on the Indian side, in any way,
suggested that that was a reason for India not to sign the treaty.  And the
President and the Vice President both reaffirmed our view that the reason
why India should sign the comprehensive test ban treaty is not as a favor
to the United States and not to get sanctions lifted, but because a
comprehensive test ban treaty, endorsed by the entire world, is in the
national interest of India as well as other countries in the world.

     Q    A little more broad, perhaps, question.  Does the U.S. see India
replacing Pakistan as its principal ally in South Asia?

     MR. INDERFURTH:  A decision was taken by the President to try to build
a new relationship with India, one that moved away from what has been
described as estranged democracies.  And I think that he has gone very far
in changing estranged democracies to engaged democracies.

     At the same time, as his visit to Pakistan indicated when he was in
the region in March, we are not involved in a zero-sum game here.  Moving
ahead in our relationship with India where we have many opportunities today
is not designed or intended to suggest that we do not want to continue our
longstanding relationship and friendship with Pakistan and to work with
Pakistan during this time when, clearly, Pakistan is facing a number of
significant problems.

     So we are moving ahead with both countries on their own merits.  We
believe that the hyphenated relationship of always referring to these two
countries together is no longer appropriate.  It's a post-Cold War era, we
can have relations move forward with one, and we hope to have our relations
with Pakistan move forward.  But one is not a choice, one over the other,
and we believe quite frankly that as we work with Pakistan as, hopefully,
it addresses its problems with its economy and, of course, the military
takeover in October of last year, is that it addresses all of these things
and the threat of terrorism there in Pakistan; that Pakistan can grow, it
can strengthen, it can become a stable, democratic, prosperous country,
which we believe would also be in India's interest.

     MR. RIEDEL:  I just want to add one thing, because I think it's a very
important question, and I would direct you to something the President said
in the pool spray.  He said, if you look at the way the world is going, it
is inconceivable to me that we can build the kind of world we want over the
next 10 to 20 years, unless there is a very strong partnership between the
United States and India.  And I think that sums it up very nicely.

     On every issue that matters to Americans and their foreign policy in
the 21st century, from global peace to global warming, from the AIDS
epidemic to eradicating poverty to information technology, India is an
important player, and will be an increasingly important player, and that's
what this is all about, and that's why the President has held two summits
in six months with the Indian Prime Minister.

     MR. CROWLEY:  We'll take two more questions in the back, and then

     Q    Bruce, every time the President talks about issues on the
subcontinent, he's full of lavish praise for India's plurality, its
diversity, multi-religious, multi-ethnic society.  If we look at --
narrowed this down to Kashmir and look at the case on Kashmir, Pakistan
claims Kashmir, because it's a Muslim majority state, the Indians are
saying that it's an example,  it's a microcosm of our society, because it's
multi-ethnic and multi-religious -- it's got Buddhists, it's got Hindus and
Muslims.  So is it possible that the administration is beginning to look at
Kashmir not as a territory of dispute, but as how a modern nation-state
should be in the 21st century?

     MR. INDERFURTH:  He said Bruce.  (Laughter.)

     MR. RIEDEL:  That's a profound question, which is difficult to answer
in a quick way.  I think you've described a lot of the complexities of the
Kashmir problem.  In the end, it is not up to America to resolve this
issue, and we have said repeatedly, and we reaffirmed it today, that we are
not a mediator, we do not intend to put American-planned or an American
negotiator out there.

     We do think that there are some principles that make sense.  One of
those, which we've always said also, is that the wishes of the Kashmiri
people have to be accommodated in this process, as well.  India is an
extraordinary example of the success of diversity in building stronger
unity out of many different kinds of cultures and religions, and both the
President and the Vice President reaffirmed their respect for that today.

     Q    Bruce, will you give us a read out on Berger's meeting with the
Palestinian --

     MR. RIEDEL:  I would love to, except that I was with the Prime
Minister and the Vice President when Sandy and Nabil were meeting, so I
can't do it.

     Q    Could you give us some idea of the discussion, how the discussion
ranged on China?  Was this simply China's internal affairs, domestic
affairs?  Did the Prime Minister bring up any concern about reports that
China had been helping Pakistan with its missile program?  Is the
administration concerned about the possible effect on the proliferation
scene on the subcontinent of an eventual deployment of NMD, and a possible
increase of its weapons and nuclear programs by China?  Did that come into
the equation at all?

     MR. RIEDEL:  First of all, let me say that our relationship with India
is not a zero sum game with our relationship with China.  We believe that
both of these countries are countries that we have to have strong ties of
engagement with.  The discussion about China, there was not a particular
reference to reports about Chinese-Pakistani cooperation in the meetings

     I know that's something that the Indians have expressed concern about
before.  I would say the conversation was more along the nature of where
did each of them think, from their own perspective, and their own dialogue
with Chinese leaders, China is heading in the 21st century.  And of course
we are concerned about the impact of arms races and what NMD could be
misinterpreted to mean by some.  As you know, the President has said that
those factors will be very much on his mind as he makes decisions about

     There is one thing that you haven't asked about, which I would like
just to cover briefly, which is the atmospherics of this, which I should
have done at the beginning.

     These were very serious conversations.  Despite what you all know of
his -- the Prime Minister's problems with his knees, he was extremely
focused.  He was very much engaged with the President and the Vice
President, and I think there were not only serious discussions here, but
the warmth that has developed between the two leaders was again on display.

     They noted the humor of watching the press corps come in and out of
the Oval Office, for example, and had a very good, warm and bonding
conversation and look forward to seeing each other tomorrow at the Gandhi
Monument and then on Sunday night, at the state dinner.

     Q    Thank you very much.

                          END                   4:35 P.M. EDT

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