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External Affairs Minister's visit to Washington, DC

Washington, DC
September 9, 2002

The External Affairs Minister of India, Shri Yashwant Sinha arrived in Washington, D.C. on 8th September, 2002 for a 2 day official visit at the invitation of the US Secretary of State, and Mr. Colin Powell. The two Ministers met for a tête-à-tête today followed by delegation level talks that continued over a working luncheon. Other meetings included those with National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Treasury Secretary O'Neil, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz and U.S. Senator Hagel. He also met with the Washington Post; interacted with the Press at the State Department; and addressed a Press Conference at the Indian Embassy.

At the State Department meeting both Ministers expressed satisfaction at the talks which covered a wide spectrum and focused mainly on bilateral relations. The two sides discussed high technology and civil nuclear cooperation, trade, investments, and research & development. Afghanistan and the situation at the LOC came up for discussion. Secretary Powell reiterated the US stand on cross border terrorism and underscored that Pakistan’s commitment to stop this activity had been made not only to President Bush, but also to the international community. Secretary Powell emphasized that the US was against interference in the J&K elections which should be free, fair and transparent. Powell announced that the two sides had agreed on the substance of the forthcoming meeting between President Bush and Prime Minister Vajpayee in New York; the agenda was discussed. Shri Sinha concurred with Secretary Powell's depiction of the tone, tenor and content of the talks.

On the subject of US backing for a permanent seat for India in the UN Security Council, Secretary Powell said the subject did not come up; the US had an open mind on it.

Shri Yashwant Sinha's engagements tomorrow include an address at Brookings Institution; meetings with Senators Jesse Helms And Joseph Biden; interface with the Executive committee of the India Caucus of the US House of Representatives and an exchange of views with the House International Relations committee. External Affairs Minister is also scheduled to meet the Washington Times and appear on CNN international.

The visit serves to emphasize the importance of Indo-US bilateral ties and is a milestone in the increasingly close engagement between the two sides on bilateral, regional and international issues.


For more information, contact:
Sunil Lal, Counsellor (Press & Information) at (202) 939-7042