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India, Pakistan Urged Over Weapons

January 26, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ On the eve of a trip to India and Pakistan, a State Department official urged both countries Tuesday to rely less on weapons as they define their strategic defense requirements.

Karl Inderfurth, the assistant secretary for South Asian Affairs, also said that Afghanistan would have to rid itself of narcotics traffickers and suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden to return to a working relationship with the rest of the world.

``The United States wants bin Laden expelled from Afghanistan to a place where he can be brought to justice for the criminal acts he has committed,″ Inderfurth said.

Inderfurth will leave Wednesday with Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and Air Force Gen. Joseph Ralston for a South Asian tour that will include India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

The U.S. delegates are expected to discuss strategic defense reviews for India and Pakistan while there. The two countries carried out nuclear tests last May.

``Both countries ... are in the process of defining their strategic requirements and defense posture for the future,″ said Inderfurth.

``We are hopeful that they will define those requirements in a way that are minimum but meet their needs,″ he said.

The United States wants India and Pakistan to sign an international test ban treaty, issue a formal moratorium on the production of fissile materials used to make nuclear weapons and adopt restraints on nuclear-capable missiles and aircraft.

The U.S. delegates will also talk about Afghanistan and bin Laden with officials in Pakistan.

Bin Laden, the Saudi millionaire who lives in exile in Afghanistan, has been indicted by a U.S. court in connection with the August bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans. Taliban officials in Afghanistan have refused to hand over bin Laden.

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