New Delhi, June 27: Foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal will on Sunday lead an official delegation to Washington to talk to key functionaries of the Bush administration on bilateral issues and assess the impact of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s recent visit to the US.
Sibal is ostensibly going to Washington for the meeting on high-tech trade with Ken Juster, the US government’s point man on the issue. However, in four days beginning June 29, Sibal will also meet national security advisor Condoleezza Rice, deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage and other senior officials in the Bush administration.
The foreign secretary-led delegation will be the first Indian high-level interaction with the US since Musharraf’s meeting with President George W. Bush at Camp David earlier this week. A direct fallout of the meeting has been the $3 billion aid package for Pakistan — half for military purchase.
Delhi’s initial reaction to the much-hyped meeting between Bush and Musharraf has been that of satisfaction, as India believes that the aid package promised to the Pakistani President has come with several strings attached.
Indications from the US suggest that the financial and military aid promised by the US to Musharraf will not only be spread over five years but will also be dependent on Islamabad’s progress on key issues like curbing terrorism and proliferation and progress towards restoring democracy in Pakistan.
Asked how important Sibal’s visit to the US was, a senior official of the foreign ministry said: “All our visits to the US and meetings with Bush administration officials are important. It gives the two sides opportunities to share information and views on a number of important issues of mutual interest and concern.”