Economics India

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

President Bush Sets Out Key Themes for his forthcoming Visit to India!

In his eloquent speech today to Asia Society in Washington, President Bush said USA’s relationships with India and Pakistan were important for USA’s economic security and national security. He hoped to discuss with Prime Minister Singh in India and President Musharraf in Pakistan, the ways that the three nations must work together to make the world safer and more prosperous by fighting terrorism, advancing democracy, expanding free and fair trade, and meeting our common energy needs in a responsible way.

President Bush’s first stop will be in India. According to President Bush, “India is the world's largest democracy. It is home to more than a billion people -- that's more than three times the population of the United States. Like our own country, India has many different ethnic groups and religious traditions. India has a Hindu majority, and about 150 million Muslims in that country. That's more than in any other country except Indonesia and Pakistan. India's government reflects its diversity. India has a Muslim president and a Sikh prime minister. I look forward to meeting with both of them. India is a good example of how freedom can help different people live together in peace. And this commitment to secular government and religious pluralism makes India a natural partner for the United States".

In his meetings with Prime Minister Singh, President Bush proposes to discuss ways to advance the strategic partnership that the two announced last July. Through this partnership, the United States and India are cooperating in five broad areas: (a) defeat the threat of terrorism; (b) support democracy around the world; (c) promote global prosperity through free and fair trade; (d) improve human health and the environment; and (e) help India meet its energy needs in a practical and responsible way - addressing three key issues: oil, electricity, and the need to bring India's nuclear power program under international norms and safeguards.

President Bush today talked about the most contentious issue that “India must first bring its civilian energy programs under the same international safeguards that govern nuclear power programs" which also involves "separation of civilian and military nuclear programs”. President Bush says “ I'll continue to encourage India to produce a credible, transparent, and defensible plan to separate its civilian and military nuclear programs".

President Bush recognized that while India and US have an ambitious agenda to work on, " it builds on a relationship that has never been better. India is a global leader, as well as a good friend, and I look forward to working with Prime Minister Singh to address other difficult problems such as HIV/AIDS, pandemic flu, and the challenge posed by Iran's nuclear ambitions". President Bush hopes that " his trip trip will remind everybody about the strengthening of a important strategic partnership -- to work together in practical ways to promote a hopeful future for citizens in both our nations".

This blog will closely follow on this historic visit of President Bush' to India and its outcomes -- and will cover in later posts the key themes that he will be pursuing during his visit to Pakistan that follows. President Bush believes that "good relations with America can help both nations in their quest for peace. Not long ago, there was so much distrust between India and Pakistan that when America had good relations with one, it made the other one nervous. Changing that perception has been one of our administration's top priorities, and we're making good progress. Pakistan now understands that it benefits when America has good relations with India. India understands that it benefits when America has good relations with Pakistan. And we're pleased that India and Pakistan are beginning to work together to resolve their differences directly."


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