November 22, 2002

India Steps Up Diplomatic Offensive

India reacted sharply on Thursday to Pakistan's reported claim to use nuclear weapons in the event of war, saying this was yet another "manifestation of loose talk."

"This is yet another manifestation of loose talk and irresponsible statements emanating from Pakistan," spokeswoman of External Affairs Ministry Nirupama Rao said at the regular new conference here.

Pakistan Ambassador to the United Nations Munir Akram reportedly said earlier in New York that Islamabad had never subscribed to the no-first use of nuclear weapons.

As threat of Indo-Pakistan war was looming, French Foreign Minister Dominic De Villepin spoke to External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh on Thursday, saying France believed that Pakistan should and must honor its commitment to stop export of terrorism to India.

During his 10-minute conversation through telephone, the French minister said his country was greatly impressed by the responsibility and responsible attitude New Delhi had shown in dealing with the current situation, Rao told the media.

Singh briefed Villepin about the latest developments of the current stand-off between India and Pakistan and stressed that the international community should recognize the fact that Pakistan must translate its assurances to stop export of terrorism into action on the ground.

Indian Foreign Secretary Chokila Iyer held separate meetings on Thursday with ambassadors of China, Bangladesh and Nepal and briefed them about India's position with regard to the tension along the border, Rao said.

Secretary in the External Affairs Ministry Shashank met ambassadors from South East Asian country.

Japanese Senior Vice Minister for foreign affairs Seiken Sugiura, who arrived here Wednesday nigh from Islamabad, met National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra here Thursday afternoon.

He is scheduled to meet External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh on Friday to try to convince New Delhi to defuse the current tension with neighboring Pakistan.

United States Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage will arrive here on June 6 to take stock of the situation in light of the current stand-off between New Delhi and Islamabad.

U.S. Defense Secretary David Rumsfeld is also likely to pay a visit to South Asia three to four days after Armitage's visit, official sources here said.

India's diplomatic offensive came just a day after Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf decided to send envoys to Washington, Europe and some Muslim countries to explain Islamabad's position.

(Xinhua News Agency May 31, 2002)

In This Series
Bush Sends Rumsfeld to Calm India, Pakistan

Kashmir Shelling Kills 23 Civilians

Pakistan Test Fires Third Missile

India, Pakistan Trade Fire After Musharraf Speech

Pakistan Speaks to Defuse Tension

Pakistan Tests Second Missile, India Boosts Defense

Pakistan Test Fires Nuclear-Capable Missile



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