Saturday, Sep 14, 2002
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By Amit Baruah
In other remarks at his meeting with Mr. Bush yesterday, the Prime Minister said he was deeply disturbed by the killings of candidates in the run-up to the Jammu & Kashmir elections. According to sources, the U.S. President said he would ``reinforce'' the message to ensure peaceful elections in Kashmir, when he met the Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf, later on Thursday.
Mr. Bush pointed to the long-term nature of India-U.S. relations and said if the foundation could be built by the Prime Minister and himself together, then others could place the ``roof'' on the relationship. In a lighter vein, Mr. Bush told the Prime Minister that if his officials were not doing what they were supposed to be doing then he should be told about it.
The sources said the atmosphere during the meeting was excellent. Interestingly, while the issue of a possible sale of arms by the United States to Pakistan did not figure in the Vajpayee-Bush talks yesterday, the matter was taken up by the External Affairs Minister, Yashwant Sinha, during his meetings in Washington on September 9-10. Mr. Sinha conveyed to his American interlocutors that the provision of offensive weapons to Pakistan (including F-16s) would be counter-productive.
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