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Washington correspondent Richard Lister
"The US is making clear that proliferation is the number one concern"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 15 March, 2000, 05:58 GMT
US urges India nuclear control
Agni Missile
The US wants India to curb its nuclear programme
By Richard Lister in Washington

The American Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, has said India must make significant progress on controlling its nuclear weapons before the two sides can develop their relationship fully.

The annoucement came just days before President Clinton flies to India.

Speaking to the Asia Society in Washington, Mrs Albright said President Clinton's visit to India was intended to begin a new chapter in their relations.

Misunderstanding

President Clinton is scheduled to fly to India at the weekend and will also make brief stops in Bangladesh and Pakistan.


We do regard proliferation anywhere as our number one security concern

Madeleine Albright
Mrs Albright acknowledged that despite the end of the Cold War, the relationship between the US and India had often been characterised by misunderstanding, miscalculation and missed opportunities.

She also made it clear that Washington was still deeply concerned by India's nuclear armoury, and its ability to export weapons components and expertise.

"We do regard proliferation anywhere as our number one security concern," Mrs Albright said.

"And for this reason we must accept that significant progress in this area is necessary before India and the United States can realise fully the vast potential of our relationship."

Pakistan concerns

The Clinton administration has similar concerns about Pakistan, and Mrs Albright said that was one of the reasons that the president had decided to go there on his return from India.

But Washington will also be pressing the Pakistani leader, General Musharraf, to set a timetable for a return to democracy.

The US will also be urging the general to use his influence with the Taliban authorities in Afghanistan, to rein in groups accused of terrorism by the US.

Once again, she insisted that Mr Clinton's visit to Pakistan should not be taken as an endorsement of the coup which brought the general to power.

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See also:

01 Feb 00 | South Asia
Clinton to visit India
16 Feb 00 | South Asia
Intense lobbying over Clinton visit
19 Jan 00 | South Asia
India and US to counter terrorism
09 May 99 | South Asia
India rules out test ban signing
27 Oct 99 | South Asia
Call for Indian nuclear restraint
13 Jan 00 | South Asia
Pakistan pressed on democracy
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