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Press Briefing on External Affairs Minister's meeting with US Secretary of State and participation in the Conference of Community of Democracies

New Delhi
June 30, 2000

The bilateral meeting was organized during the conference of 'Communities of Democracies' (CD) in Warsaw, Poland.  CD is a new initiative organized by a number of countries. India was one of the seven countries of the convening group of CD, which met prior to the conference in order to prepare a draft declaration, which could be released on the conclusion of the conference. CD is not an institutionalized grouping against anybody but a joint initiative taken to exchange views and share experiences on how to strengthen democracy and democratic practices.

The meeting between External Affairs Minister (EAM) and US Secretary of State lasted for an hour. During the meeting discussions were held on the modalities of CD.

The US Secretary of State, Madeline Albright reiterated a very positive assessment of US President's visit to India in March this year. She also reiterated US President's invitation to our Prime Minister for a return visit.

The return visit by our Prime Minister is expected to take place in September this year. The details are being worked out and would be announced subsequently.

EAM raised the question of Indian UN peacekeepers in Sierra Leone and our concerns on this issue. Incidentally, the following day EAM was to meet UN Secretary General to have discussions on this issue.  Secretary Albright expressed her willingness to join him for this meeting and reiterate US concerns - the next day both the leaders jointly met UN Secretary General.

As a result of consistent and continuing diplomatic efforts, 21 of the Indian soldiers in relatively more difficult situations have been released. This is a good development. India also appreciates Secretary Albright’s decision to join EAM for his meeting with UN Secretary General.

The discussions also took place on bilateral issues including nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. Indian position regarding CTBT has been articulated by PM i.e. "We are preparing a national consensus in this matter and efforts would be continued in the coming months in this direction".

The two sides also exchanged views on various visits undertaken by the respective sides. EAM had recently been to Iran. Accordingly he shared our perceptions on Iran. Secretary Albright had just visited Seoul and Beijing. She shared her experiences in these two places, particularly on the summit meeting between North and South Korea. 

In response to questions, the briefing official said the following.

The detailed time frame of the proposed return visit of our Prime Minister’s United States is still under discussion. The dates would be announced separately.

One of the encouraging signs in Indo-US bilateral relationship is that both sides are expressing willingness to move ahead and exchange of visits at various levels continues. The US Under Secretary of State came to India for Foreign Office consultations.  Finance Minister had a meeting with Treasury Secretary and the Commerce Minister met with his counterpart. Both sides are making efforts to ensure that the Indo-US Institutional Dialogue is translated into practice.

The Working Group on Clean Energy and Environment is expected to complete one cycle of meeting. The group meets at the official level.

India-US Science and Technology forum has been established and registered as a society.

On India-sponsored comprehensive convention on international terrorism, US has become rather supportive.

Regarding Indo-US nuclear dialogue, nothing is scheduled as yet.

Regional situation including Pakistan was also discussed during the bilateral meeting. US is aware of India's position in this regard. Its Under Secretary of State articulated the US position on Pakistan during his last visit to Pakistan.

There was no discussion on NMD (Nuclear Missile Defense Program).