- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 10, 2000

No 'tilt' toward India

"Tilt." That is such a Cold-War word, and Karl Inderfurth says it has no place in the lexicon of diplomacy regarding U.S. policy toward India and Pakistan.

The assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs insisted in an interview with the Voice of America that the United States favors neither regional rival on the subcontinent.

A VOA reporter mentioned the recent Washington visit of Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, who also received the rare honor of addressing a joint session of Congress.

Mr. Vajpayee's visit followed President Clinton's five-day trip to India in March, when he stopped briefly in Pakistan to confer with Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who leads the military government. Mr. Clinton's trip marked the first time an American president visited India in 22 years.

All that led the VOA reporter to remark that the visits are evidence of a great strengthening of U.S.-Indian relations since the end of the Cold War 10 years ago.

"In fact, some observers claim to detect a tilt in U.S.'s policy away from the U.S.'s Cold War ally, Pakistan, and toward India," the reporter noted.

Mr. Inderfurth responded that such talk about a "tilt' is outdated.

"I think it's important to note that really 'tilt' is Cold War terminology," he said in the interview that was broadcast over the weekend on VOA television's "On The Line" show.

"It was said during the Cold War that India tilted toward the Soviet Union and that Pakistan tilted toward the United States. During that time the United States was seen as tilting toward Pakistan.

"That's over. The Cold War is over… . And we believe that 'tilt' is really no longer a meaningful term to use in the context of our relations in South Asia.

"We're not tilting toward either country, India or Pakistan."

Mr. Inderfurth said the United States has a "growing relationship with India" and a "long-standing friendship with Pakistan."

"But neither relationship is targeted or directed at the other," he insisted. "This is not a zero-sum game."

N. Ireland's story

Sean Farren came to Washington to explain Northern Ireland's new story one of hope, not violence.

"For too many years the 'troubles' meant that many doors in the U.S. were closed to us. People simply didn't want to hear the Northern Ireland story," said Mr. Farren, the province's minister for higher and further education, training and employment. "Now all that has changed."

Mr. Farren said the people of Northern Ireland hope the 1998 Good Friday Accords brought a permanent end to the "troubles" about 30 years of Catholic-Protestant violence.

"We are building a very special relationship that is bringing opportunities for people on both sides of the Atlantic," he said.

"I have no doubt that the discussions I have had so far with a wide range of people here in the U.S. capital have helped to build further on that relationship.

"I am also hopeful that we have sown seeds which will ultimately lead to very real and concrete developments that will be of benefit to people throughout Northern Ireland."

On his visit last week, Mr. Farren held talks with Education Secretary Richard W. Riley. He visited officials at the State and Labor departments and at the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

He also visited Georgetown University and Northern Virginia Community College, which have special programs with Northern Ireland.

"There can be no doubt that a special relationship has developed between the United States and Northern Ireland, a relationship that has brought great benefits to both sides," he said.

No concession to Iran

Senior members of the House International Relations Committee are determined to maintain a tough policy on Iran.

Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Republican, and Gary Ackerman, New York Democrat, will release a statement on behalf of a majority of the committee at a news conference tomorrow at 11 a.m. in Room 2255 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

They will oppose any diplomatic overtures to try to improve relations as long as Iran persecutes Jews, violates human rights and sponsors terrorism.

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