Monday, Oct 06, 2003
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India & World
By Sridhar Krishnaswami
The U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, in an interview with The Washington Post, said that the agreement or what is being labelled the "Glide Path" would bring to an end nearly two years of negotiations between the two countries in the realm of high technology trade, space launch and civilian nuclear industry.
The agreement that is to come about has been talked of in official circles as a substantive one that would deal with a number of aspects including the problem areas and the sequencing of steps that the two countries would have to address and in specific ways.
Gen. Powell said:
"We have really structured a new relationship with the Indians and it's a quite, quite strong and satisfactory relationship. There were a basket of issues that they were always asking us about... we nicknamed it `The Trinity'. How could you help us? How can we expand our trade in high tech areas, in areas having to do with space launch activities, and with our nuclear industry.
"We have been trying to be as forthcoming as we can because it's in our interest to be forthcoming; but we also have to protect certain red lines that we have with respect to proliferation, because it's sometimes hard to separate within space launch activities and industries and nuclear programmes, that which could go to weapons and that which could be solely for peaceful purposes.
"And so we've had a very productive set of discussions with the Indians over the last, almost two years now about these issues and how close we could get to satisfying their interests without crossing our red lines. And the `glide path' was a way of bringing to closure this debate."
The Washington Post asked Gen. Powell about the recent meeting between the President, George W. Bush, and the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in New York; and the presentation of Mr. Bush of the "glide path" for better relations with India with a three-phase plan that would see India take some steps in the realm of non-proliferation such as strengthening domestic export control laws and with the U.S. responding with its own steps.
Gen. Powell maintained that Mr. Bush "didn't have any in-depth discussions with Prime Minister Vajpayee on it, but we have discussed it with the Indians at diplomatic levels. Our Ambassador, our Charge there, has discussed it and we sent out people to discuss it with the Indians. It hasn't been announced yet; and it hasn't been consummated yet, but it's gotten a good reception in India, and at an appropriate time in the future, it will be announced."
Briefing the media on the Bush-Vajpayee meeting of September 24 in New York, the External Affairs Minister, Yashwant Sinha, said that both sides expressed satisfaction at the fashion in which discussions on the "Trinity" issues were going. According to Mr. Sinha, the negotiations had entered the "last lap" or the "final lap" and there would be a delegation-level meeting in the very near future. "We should be able to see some very concrete results soon".
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