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Not All Indians Looking Forward to Clinton's Visit

Aired March 15, 2000 - 2:32 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: President Clinton visits one of the world's nuclear hot spots next week, the Indian subcontinent. The trip comes amid growing concern that India and Pakistan, which are historic enemies, are pursuing nuclear weapons programs. Newly released satellite photographs offer disturbingly clear portraits of nuclear facilities in full operation.

During next week's trip. Mr. Clinton is expected to appeal both to India and Pakistan to curtail those weapons programs. At the same time, he will be looking to strengthen ties between U.S. and India. But at least some Indians are not pleased the American president is coming.

For more on that, CNN's New Delhi bureau chief Satinder Bindra.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SATINDER BINDRA, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): The Indian government wants to give President Clinton a red carpet welcome. So do Indian business leaders and much of the public. But not this collection of farmers and laborers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We feel threatened. We means the farm workers. We means the stone quarry workers, the unorganized labor, the majority of my countrymen and women. They feel threatened because Clinton represents the mighty power of the multinationals in the world.

BINDRA: Clinton arrives in India's capital, New Delhi, on 19th March, and is later scheduled to address a joint session of both houses of parliament. Officials on both sides want to focus the visit towards areas of cooperation, like U.S. investment in India, which now totals $10 billion, and India's software exports to the U.S.

RICHARD CELESTE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO INDIA: I believe we have developed a much higher level of communication, confidence, candor, the kinds of things that mark a healthy relationship between two friends, and that's the direction I think the president wants to move this relationship.

BINDRA: Despite all the official spin, President Clinton is likely to raise controversial issues like India's nuclear ambitions. Clinton is expected to ask India to curb the development of nuclear weapons. The on-going tensions between India and its nuclear neighbor, Pakistan, over the disputed territory of Kashmir will also be discussed. The optimists here hope the talks will help the world's two largest democracies understand each other better.

Satinder Bindra, CNN, New Delhi.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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