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Armitage Reports Situation Cooled Between India, Pakistan

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

TALLINN, June 8, 2002 – Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, just off the plane from New Delhi said tensions between India and neighboring Pakistan have eased somewhat.

Armitage arrived here this evening to meet with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, before Rumsfeld heads to India and Pakistan next week. Rumsfeld is in Estonia to attend a meeting with Nordic and Baltic defense ministers.

Armitage told reporters as he arrived at his hotel that he wouldn't say the crisis is over, but that "tensions are down measurably."

He said the Indians are "talking about some diplomatic actions, which could include the return of some people to diplomatic postings in Islamabad."

Armitage also said there was talk of India "ratcheting down" military tensions, though he wasn't sure what steps would be taken.

"I got the very strong impression that they were inclined to respond to the international community," he said. Armitage said whatever steps India takes might happen in "the next couple of days," which means Rumsfeld could find a much-improved situation for his visit.

Rumsfeld leaves Estonia June 9 for the Persian Gulf, where he will visit Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, American allies in the war on terror. He is scheduled to visit India and Pakistan after the Gulf.

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