Burns begins India visit Wednesday, Pakistan high on agenda

June 8th, 2009 - 9:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, June 8 (IANS) India will convey its concerns over Pakistan’s “inaction” against the perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage when US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns comes here Wednesday on a four-day visit that will prepare the ground for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit here in July.
Burns will be the first senior US official to visit New Delhi for formal talks during the second tenure of the Manmohan Singh government.

“The visit will provide an occasion to review and take forward the India-US partnership and exchange views on matters of mutual interest,” the external affairs ministry said here Monday while announcing Burns’ visit.

Besides calling on External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, Burns will meet Foreign Secretary Shivshnakar Menon and discuss with him an entire sepctrum of bilteral relationship and a host of regional issues like the volatile situation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

The dates for Clinton’s visit will be set during Burns’ visit, official sources said.

The issue of Pakistan’s perceived inaction and vacillation after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks will figure prominently in discussions between the two sides. Despite India’s objections to the US giving aid to Paksitan, there is “a great deal of congruence” between the two sides on terrorism emananting from Pakistan, reliable sources said.

During the talks, India will convey its disappointment over the release of Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba which is suspected of masterminding the Mumbai carange, and seek the US’ support in pressuring Pakistan to act against the Mumbai attackers.

The US has already condemned the release of Saeed, an India-hating Islamist ideologue, by the Lahore high court.

Issues relating to nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear business in the aftermath of the India-US civil nuclear deal will also be discussed. The Obama adminsitration is hawkish on non-proliferation issues and there is speculation that it may mount pressure on India to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). But New Delhi has made it clear that it remained opposed to CTBT as it tends to divide the world into the nuclear haves and have-nots.

The two sides are also expected to discuss and review defence purchases and the evolving India-US defence relationship. A draft for “a generic end use agreement” for all military purchases made by India from the US is likely to come up for discussions during the visit.

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