India Says it WON'T Sign Nuke Treaty
ASCII text local copy
NEW DELHI, India, July 20 (UPI) _ The United States and India have moved closer to resolving their diplomatic face-off in the wake of New Delhi's recent nuclear tests, but Indian officials say they will not sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in its present form.
Top officials of both countries met in the Indian capital today for the third round of high-level talks aimed at clearing the air following India's nuclear tests.
State-run Doordarshan TV news quotes an Indian side as saying the treaty is neither comprehensive nor does it ban tests since it allows the five nuclear weapon states to develop more weapons while curtailing all other nations.
The leader of the U.S. delegation, Deputy Secretary of State, Strobe Talbott, told reporters after a daylong closed-door meeting with Indian officials, ``We have established a very wide canvass on which we are seeking to paint, but we have a long way to go.''
The fourth round of talks will be held in Washington in late August.
Talbott said, ``We have more work ahead of us, which is why we are looking forward to more talks tomorrow and again late next month.''
The U.S. team includes Assistant Secretary of State, Karl Inderfurth and the vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Gen. Joseph Ralston, who also held separate talks with Indian defense officials.
India's team is led by Jaswant Singh, an aide of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, with whom Talbott had already held first two rounds of talks in Washington and Frankfurt.
The two sides discussed disarmament, non-proliferation and regional and international developments and described the talks as constructive and purposeful.
Echoing similar views, an Indian spokesperson said, ``There is now a clearer understanding of each other's concerns.''
Talbott said that despite the constructive talks, President Bill Clinton's proposed visit to India later this year is still uncertain.
He said that before New Delhi conducted nuclear tests, Clinton had very much looked forward to visiting India but now his plans are under review.
India blasted five underground nuclear tests in May, prompting neighboring arch rival enemy Pakistan to respond with its own series of tests. New Delhi and Islamabad have fought three wars since 1947.
The United States cut off aid and loans to India and Pakistan calling both nations to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty unconditionally.
The U.S. team will travel to Islamabad Tuesday to meet Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub Khan.