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Thursday, 23 March, 2000, 14:23 GMT
Clinton charms the press
Clinton meets Indian MPs
President Clinton's personal style at work in parliament
The Indian press has responded enthusiastically to the relaxed manner of Bill Clinton - while reserving judgement on the substance of his remarks during his visit to India.


There is little doubt that the relaxed personal style of the American president has won him as many admirers in this country

The Hindustan Times
In an editorial headlined "Man of the moment", The Hundustan Times - the country's largest circulation daily - said that Indians had finally been able to experience for themselves Clinton's "charisma", adding that his "charm" was "in striking contrast to the common perception of Americans as overbearing".

"There is little doubt that the relaxed personal style of the American president has won him as many admirers in this country as has the seeming tilt in the US policy towards India under him," the paper said.

However, it warned that India would not necessarily be persuaded by Clinton's arguments, especially those concerning the nuclear issue.

'Agreeing to disagree'

"At least for the moment, India and the US have agreed to disagree on the nuclear question. That was only to be expected," it said.

The independent daily Asian Age hailed Clinton's address to the joint session of the Indian parliament as "a diplomatic marvel", saying that it projected "Uncle Sam as a benign brother" whose interests coincided with India's.


Clinton at parliament
Differences remain - despite the smiles
At the same time, Clinton's language "did not hide the harsh truth" of differences of opinion over nonproliferation and relations with Pakistan.

However, the paper said that the enthusiastic reception given to the US president by the Indian parliament was a sight to behold.

"The members of parliament fell over themselves, pushed and shoved, simply to shake hands with the visiting dignitary."

'Lacking dignity'

The influential South India daily The Hindu thought Clinton "a charming interlocutor" but found the MPs' reception of him somewhat lacking in dignity.



No diplomatic 'spin' will camouflage the actual fact that beneath the veneer of cordiality and bonhomie, the American strategic view of the subcontinent has not changed in essence

The Hindu
"His address to parliament got an unusually warm welcome from the gathering of MPs, many of whom in vulgar and unabashed fashion scrambled and jostled to get to shake his hand," the paper said.

It pointed out that a "sharp gap" still remained on "crucial policy issues".

"No diplomatic 'spin' or attempt to finesse these differences ... will camouflage the actual fact that beneath the veneer of cordiality and bonhomie, the American strategic view of the subcontinent has not changed in essence," The Hindu lamented.

The Times of India also warned that President Clinton's courting of India was largely strategic in character.

"In the age of nukes and infotech, US self-interest dictates a pro-India tilt. What we are seeing is a continuity of US self-interest, rather than a change of heart," the paper said.

However, it conceded that Indian technological expertise created a sound basis for further co-operation between the two countries.

BBC Monitoring(http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk), based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages

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Clinton in South Asia
Click here for a guide to President Clinton's tour
Key stories:
What did the trip achieve?
Protecting the president
South Asia's nuclear race
Clinton and the Kashmir question
Economic ties:
Americans eye South Asia
India's high-tech hopes
Features:
Village gets makeover
Story in pictures
Talking Point

 Kashmir: Should Clinton mediate?

See also:

21 Mar 00 | Media reports
Press hails new era in ties
22 Mar 00 | South Asia
Taj Mahal pollution plea
22 Mar 00 | South Asia
Clinton on the tiger's trail
21 Mar 00 | South Asia
India dismisses US fears
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