President Clinton for the first time has indicated a willingness to commit the United States to joining the international treaty banning land mines by 2006. But he linked the move to development of alternate weapons.

The policy shift, disclosed Friday, drew generally positive reactions from pro-treaty groups that have criticized the administration for not aligning itself with the more than 100 nations that signed the pact last December in Ottawa.Clinton also agreed for the first time to order the Pentagon to search for alternatives to the practice of combining anti-personnel mines and anti-tank mines. The technique is used to deter enemy troops from trying to defuse the anti-tank weapons.