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Sunday, May 13, 2001

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No clear plan for NMD: Rumsfeld

By Sridhar Krishnaswami

WASHINGTON, MAY 12. In all the talk about the National Missile Defence system and the apprehensions of the United States walking out of the Anti- Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Bush administration is making it known that there is no clear plan on how to go about the NMD that is to take care of the 50 states of the U.S. and allies as well.

Presenting the Pentagon's focus on American defence interests in outer space this week, the Defence Secretary, Mr. Donald Rumsfeld, said the plan for the NMD was not ``firm'' or ``fixed'' and that the administration, after consultations with Russia, China and allies, would pursue a dozen different approaches.

``People think, you know, `My goodness, they obviously have something in their heads that's all firm and all fixed, and they're going to suddenly pull open the curtain and there it is'. Not true,'' Mr. Rumsfeld remarked going on to make the point that the consultations were serious and real.

``This is a big important issue for people to discuss. It's going to take some re-learning; it's going to take a willingness on the part of people to recognise the difference in our circumstance today from that during the Cold War, and we're going to do that, and we are going to do it well,'' the Defence Secretary said.

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