DATE=3/26/2000 TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT TITLE=CLINTON-INDIA-PAKISTAN NUMBER=5-46012 BYLINE=ED WARNER DATELINE=WASHINGTON CONTENT= CONTEN = VOICED AT: INTRO: The leaders of India and Pakistan have praised President Clinton's trip to their countries. Beyond that, they are non-committal on his pleas for nuclear restraint and compromise on Kashmir, suggesting the struggle will continue with little change. V-O-A's Ed Warner reports some views of the presidential visit and how it may affect on the India-Pakistan conflict. TEXT: It has been 22-years since a U-S President has visited India, says Stephen Cohen of the Brookings Institution, and that is too long. But now that a President has made the trip, he would rate it as quite successful: // COHEN ACT // It is a qualified A or A-minus because any true evaluation of the trip will have to wait until later this summer when we will know whether or not he has been successful in helping India and Pakistan avoid a conflict that neither wants but which seems very possible. // END ACT // Samina Ahmed of the John F. Kennedy School of Government gives the trip a lower grade: // AHMED ACT // In some ways actually, it might even have an adverse effect on regional stability. Five-days in India, five-hours in Pakistan, a very conciliatory tone in India and a pretty harsh tone with Pakistan, which means it will fuel the kinds of hostilities that you see creating the problems that we have in that region. // END ACT // The same point was emphasized by the Pakistani press. A leading columnist wrote that Washington's friendship with Pakistan seems to have ended. U-S officials note India is a fast-growing economy of increasing importance to the United States. It could serve ultimately as a counter-weight to an assertive China. President Clinton emphasized a more conciliatory attitude toward disputed Kashmir and a relaxation of the dangerous nuclear arms race. Judging from his own recent trip to the region, Mr. Cohen says he is doubtful of much progress in these areas: // COHEN ACT // Everybody in the region is talking about a war. Nobody in the region wants war, but everybody feels that it might happen - could happen - and nobody can quite figure how to get out of it. // END ACT // There is an exhaustion of ideas, says Mr. Cohen. Nobody seems to have a vision for peace. Samina Ahmet notes the nuclear threats continue, as well as a constant artillery bombardment across the dividing line in Kashmir: // AHMET ACT // The Indians have upped the ante (increased the threat) in conventional and nuclear terms. They are talking about deployment, and they have raised their defense expenditures by 28-percent. That is unprecedented. On the Pakistani side, we find there is even a harsher line on Kashmir. (General) Pervez Musharraf has said that this is not a terrorist movement. These are not insurgents. They are freedom fighters, and we will support freedom fighters. He does not go on to say Pakistan is arming the freedom fighters. // END ACT // Though Kashmir is the most obvious point of conflict between India and Pakistan, Mr. Cohen says there are other issues - religious and economic - dating back to the partition when Britain left South Asia. He adds each country's media tends to demonize the other: // COHEN ACT // The identity of India is being redefined to include an anti-Pakistani component. In other words, to be a patriotic Indian, you must hate Pakistan. There has been an element of that in Pakistan for many years because to be a patriotic Pakistani, many Pakistanis have said you have to fight the Indians. // END ACT // Stephen Cohen says one presidential trip is not enough. There must be chronic U-S involvement to keep the precarious peace in South Asia. (SIGNED) NEB/EW/RAE 26-Mar-2000 14:03 PM EDT (26-Mar-2000 1903 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .