DATE=1/20/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT/L-ONLY TITLE=INDIA / U-S TALKS (L) NUMBER=2-258236 BYLINE=JIM TEEPLE DATELINE=NEW DELHI CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Senior Indian and U-S diplomats have wrapped up two days of talks in London with an agreement to form a joint group to combat terrorism. The talks also focused on nuclear proliferation issues but -- as V-O- A's Jim Teeple reports, little progress was reported. Text: It was the 10th time India's Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh and U-S Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott met to discuss nuclear proliferation issues. However, the main topic of discussion in London turned out to be terrorism. Ever since Kashmiri militant separatists hijacked an Indian Airlines plane in late December, Indian diplomats have been seeking support for a proposal to label Pakistan a terrorist state. India says Pakistan was involved in the hijacking -- a charge Pakistan vehemently denies. The United States says it does not support Indian efforts to label Pakistan a terrorist state. Still, U-S diplomats say they will form a joint working group on terrorism with India and will support Indian efforts to bring the hijackers to trial. Uday Bhaskar is an active duty Indian Navy commodore who is also the deputy director of the Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis in New Delhi. He says -- although differences remain between the United States and India over proliferation issues -- there is agreement on the need to fight terrorism. // BHASKAR ACTUALITY // Personally, I feel that it is a positive sign that both countries are continuing with the negotiations and they are also trying, I think, to broaden the base of discussion and not just keep it with the non- proliferation issue. // END ACTUALITY // Ever since India and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in 1998, the United States has been trying to get both countries to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty which bans testing of nuclear weapons and sets international standards limiting nuclear proliferation. So far, both India and Pakistan have resisted. Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee says there must be a national consensus to sign the C- T-B-T before he will do so. For his part, Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh says the decision to form a joint working group on terrorism with the United States is based on an agreement to jointly fight terrorism and was not a direct consequence of the recent hijacking. Mr. Singh also signaled a new, tougher stance by India towards Pakistan, saying India will only resume discussions with a democratically elected government in Islamabad. Following last October's bloodless coup in Pakistan, Indian officials said they would be willing to talk with Pakistan's new military leaders to ease tensions in the region. (Signed) neb/jlt / wd 20-Jan-2000 04:43 AM EDT (20-Jan-2000 0943 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .