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Bush: ``May God bless India and Pakistan''

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President Bush is traveling to India and Pakistan in March.....
He talked about the upcoming trip today...``By fostering economic development and opportunity, we will reduce the appeal of radical Islam, and demonstrate that America is a steadfast friend and partner of the Pakistani people.
Here are Bush's complete remarks:


Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 22, 2006



Mandarin Oriental Hotel

Washington, D.C.

10:47 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Madam President -- it's got a nice ring
to it. (Laughter.) Thank you for your kind introduction; thank you for
inviting me here. I'm honored to be here with the members of the Asia
Society as you celebrate your 50th anniversary.

I came here today to talk about America's relationship with two key
nations in Asia: India and Pakistan. These nations are undergoing
great changes, and those changes are being felt all across the world.
More than five centuries ago, Christopher Columbus set out for India and
proved the world was round. Now some look at India's growing economy
and say that that proves that the world is flat. (Laughter.) No matter
how you look at the world, our relationship with these countries are
important. They're important for our economic security, and they're
important for our national security.

I look forward to meeting with Prime Minister Singh in India, and
President Musharraf in Pakistan. We will discuss ways that our nations
can work together to make our 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.

I appreciate Ambassador Holbrooke. I appreciate your service to our
country. Thanks for being the Chairman of the Asia Society. Leo Daly
is the Chairman of the Asia Society of Washington. Leo, thank you.
It's good to see you. I appreciate the members of the Diplomatic Corps
that have joined us today, in particular, Ambassador Sin from India, and
Ambassador Karamet from Pakistan. Thanks for taking time out of your
busy schedules to come and here the President give a talk.

Fifty years ago, many Asian nations were still colonies.; today, Asians
are in charge of their own destinies. Fifty years ago, there were only
a handful of democracies in Asia; today there are nearly a dozen. Fifty
years ago, most of Asia was mired in hopeless poverty; today its
economies are engines of prosperity. These changes have been dramatic,
and as the Asian continent grows in freedom and opportunity, it will be
a source of peace and stability and prosperity for all the world.

The transformation of Asia is beginning to improve the lives of citizens
in India and Pakistan, and the United States welcomes this development.
The United States has not always enjoyed close relations with Pakistan
and India. In the past, the Cold War and regional tensions kept us
apart, but today, our interests and values are bringing us closer
together. We share a common interest in promoting open economies that
creates jobs and opportunities for our people. We have acted on common
values to deliver compassionate assistance to people who have been
devastated by natural disasters. And we face a common threat in Islamic
extremism. Today I'm going to discuss America's long-term interests
and goals in this important part of the world, and how the United States
can work together with India and Pakistan to achieve them.

The first stop on my trip will be India. 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 my meetings with Prime Minister Singh, we'll discuss ways to advance
the strategic partnership that we announced last July. Through this
partnership, the United States and India are cooperating in five broad

First, the United States and India are working together to defeat the
threat of terrorism. Like the American people, the people of India have
suffered directly from terrorist attacks on their home soil. To defeat
the terrorists, our intelligence and law enforcement agencies are
cooperating on a regular basis to make air travel more secure, increase
the security of cyberspace, and prevent bioterrorist attacks. Our two
governments are sharing vital information on suspected terrorists and
potential threats. And these cooperative efforts will make the Indian
government more effective as a partner in the global war on terror, and
will make the people in both our countries more secure.

Secondly, the United States and India are working together to support
democracy around the world. Like America, India overcame colonialism to
establish a free and independent nation. President Franklin Roosevelt
supported India in its quest for democracy, and now our two nations are
helping other nations realize the same dream.

Last year we launched the Global Democracy Initiative, which is a joint
venture between India and the United States to promote democracy and
development across the world. Under this initiative, India and the
United States have taken leadership roles in advancing the United
Nations Democracy Fund. The fund will provide grants to governments and
civil institutions and international organizations to help them
administer elections, fight corruption, and build the rule of law in
emergency democracy -- in emerging democracies. We're also encouraging
India to work directly with other nations that will benefit from India's
experience of building a multiethnic democracy that respects the rights
of religious minorities.

India's work in Afghanistan is a good example of India's commitment to
emerging democracies. India has pledged $565 million to help the Afghan
people repair the infrastructure and get back on their feet. And
recently, India announced it would provide an additional $50 million to
help the Afghans complete their National Assembly building. India has
trained National Assembly staff, and it's developing a similar program
for the Assembly's elected leaders. The people of America and India
understand that a key part of defeating the terrorists is to replace
their ideology of hatred with an ideology of hope. And so we will
continue to work together to advance the cause of liberty.

Third, the United States and India are working together to promote
global prosperity through free and fair trade. America's economic
relationship with India is strong and it's getting better. Last year,
our exports to India grew by more than 30 percent. We had a trade
surplus of $1.8 billion in services. India is now one of the
fastest-growing markets for American exports, and the growing economic
ties between our two nations are making American companies more
competitive in the global marketplace. And that's helping companies
create good jobs here in America.

The growing affluence of India is a positive development for our
country. America accounts for 5 percent of the world's population.
That means 95 percent of our potential customers live outside our
borders. More than a billion of them live in India. We welcome the
growing prosperity of the Indian people, and the potential market it
offers for America's goods and services.

When trade is free and fair, it benefits all sides. At the end of World
War II, the United States chose to help Germany and Japan recover.
America understood then that as other nations prosper, their growing
wealth brings greater stability to their regions and more opportunities
for products Americans manufacture and grow. The same is true today
with developing nations such as India. As India's economy expands, it
means a better life for the Indian people and greater stability for the
region. It means a bigger market for America's businesses and workers
and farmers.

The area of America's relationship with India that seems to receive the
most attention is outsourcing. It's true that a number of Americans
have lost jobs because companies have shifted operations to India. And
losing a job is traumatic. It's difficult. It puts a strain on our
families. But rather than respond with protectionist policies, I
believe it makes sense to respond with educational polices to make sure
that our workers are skilled for the jobs of the 21st century.

We must also recognize that India's growth is creating new opportunities
for our businesses and farmers and workers. India's middle class is now
estimated at 300 million people. Think about that. That's greater than
the entire population of the United States. India's middle class is
buying air-conditioners, kitchen appliances, and washing machines, and a
lot of them from American companies like GE, and Whirlpool, and
Westinghouse. And that means their job base is growing here in the
United States of America. Younger Indians are acquiring a taste for
pizzas from Domino's -- (laughter) -- Pizza Hut. And Air India ordered
68 planes valued at more than $11 billion from Boeing, the single
largest commercial airplane order in India's civilian aviation history.
Today India's consumers associate American brands with quality and
value, and this trade is creating opportunity here at home.

Americans also benefit when U.S. companies establish research centers to
tap into India's educated workforce. This investment makes American
companies more competitive globally. It lowers the cost for American
consumers. Texas Instruments is a good example. Today Texas
Instruments employs 16,000 workers in America. It gets more than 80
percent of its revenues from sales overseas. More than 20 years ago,
Texas Instruments opened a center in Bangalore, which is India's Silicon
Valley. They did so to assist in analog chip design, and digital chip
design, and related software development. The company says that their
research centers in countries like India allow them to run their design
efforts around the clock. They bring additional brainpower to help
solve problems, and provide executives in the United States with
critical information about the needs of their consumers and customers

These research centers help Texas Instruments to get their products to
market faster. It helps Texas Instruments become more competitive in a
competitive world. It makes sense. The research centers are good for
India, and they're good for workers here in the United States.

In the past decade, India has made dramatic progress in opening its
markets to foreign trade and investment, but there's more work to be
done. India needs to continue to lift its caps on foreign investment,
to make its rules and regulations more transparent, and to continue to
lower its tariffs and open its markets to American agricultural
products, industrial goods, and services. We'll continue to work for
agreements on these economic and regulatory reforms, to ensure that
America's goods and services are treated fairly. My attitude is this:
If the rules are fair, I believe our companies and our farmers and our
entrepreneurs can compete with anybody, anytime, anywhere.

India is an important -- as a market for American products, India is
also important as a partner in opening up world markets. As a new
nation, India emphasized self-sufficiency and adopted strong
protectionist policies. During this period, its economy stagnated and
poverty grew. India now recognizes that a brighter future for its
people depends on a free and fair global trading order. Today the Doha
Round of trade talks at the World Trade Organization provides the
greatest opportunity to lift hundreds of millions of people out of
poverty, and to boost economic growth across the world. The WTO
members' aim is to complete the Doha Round by the end of this year.
India has played an important leadership role in the Doha talks, and we
look to India to continue to lead as we work together for an ambitious
agreement on services and manufacturing and agriculture.

Fourth, the United States and India are working together to improve
human health and the environment, and address the issue of climate
change. So we've joined together to create the Asia-Pacific Partnership
on Clean Development and Climate. Together with Australia and China and
Japan and South Korea, we will focus on practical ways to make the best
practices and latest energy technologies available to all -- things like
-- technologies like zero-emission coal-fired plants. As nations across
the region adopt these practices and technologies, they will make their
factories and power plants cleaner and more efficient. We look forward
to being an active partner in this partnership.

Fifth, the United States and India will work together to help India meet
its energy needs in a practical and responsible way. That means
addressing three key issues: oil, electricity, and the need to bring
India's nuclear power program under international norms and safeguards.

India now imports more than two-thirds of its oil. As the economy -- as
its economy grows, which we're confident it will, it will need even more
oil. The increased demand from developing nations like India is one of
the reasons the global demand for oil has been rising faster than global
supply. Rising demand relative to global supply leads to price
increases -- for all of us.

To meet the challenge here in America, I have proposed what's called an
Advanced Energy Initiative to make this company [sic] less reliant upon
oil. As I said in the State of the Union, we got a problem: We're
hooked on oil. And we need to do something about it.

And so we're spending money on research and development to develop
cleaner and more reliable alternatives to oil, alternatives that will
work, alternatives such as hybrid vehicles that will require much less
gasoline, alternatives such as new fuels to substitute for gasoline, and
alternatives such as using hydrogen to power automobiles. We will share
these promising energy technologies with countries like India. And as
we do so, it will help reduce stress on global oil markets and move our
world toward cleaner and more efficient uses of energy.

India's rising economy is also creating greater demand for electricity.
Nuclear power is a clean and reliable way to help meet this need.
Nuclear power now accounts for nearly 3 percent of India's electricity
needs, and India plans to increase the figure by -- to 25 percent by
2050. And America wants to help.

My administration has announced a new proposal called the Global Nuclear
Energy Partnership. Under this partnership, America will work with
nations that have advanced civilian nuclear energy programs -- such as
Great Britain, France, Japan, and Russia -- to share nuclear fuel with
nations like India that are developing civilian nuclear energy programs.
The supplier nations will collect the spent nuclear fuel. And the
supplier nations will invest in new methods to reprocess the spent
nuclear fuel so that it can be used for advanced new reactors. The
strategy will allow countries like India to produce more electricity
from nuclear power, it will enable countries like India to rely less on
fossil fuels, it will decrease the amount of nuclear waste that needs to
be stored and reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation.

To benefit from this initiative, India first needs to bring its civilian
energy programs under the same international safeguards that govern
nuclear power programs in other countries. And India and the United
States took a bold step forward last summer when we agreed to a civil
nuclear initiative that will provide India access to civilian nuclear
technology, and bring its civilian programs under the safeguards of the
International Atomic Energy Agency.

This is not an easy decision for India, nor is it an easy decision for
the United States, and implementing this agreement will take time and it
will take patience from both our countries. I'll continue to encourage
India to produce a credible, transparent, and defensible plan to
separate its civilian and military nuclear programs. By following
through on our commitments, we'll bring India's civilian -- civil
nuclear program into international mainstream, and strengthen the bonds
of trust between our two great nations.

We have an ambitious agenda with India. Our agenda is also practical.
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. My trip will remind everybody about the strengthening of a
important strategic partnership. We'll work together in practical ways
to promote a hopeful future for citizens in both our nations.

The second stop on my trip will be to Pakistan. Pakistan is a key ally
in the war on terror. Pakistan is a nation of 162 million people. It
has come a long way in a short time. Five years ago, Pakistan was one
of only three nations that recognized the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
That all changed after September the 11th. President Musharraf
understood that he had to make a fundamental choice for his people. He
could turn a blind eye and leave his people hostage to terrorists, or he
could join the free world in fighting the terrorists. President
Musharraf made the right choice, and the United States of America is
grateful for his leadership.

Within two days of the attack, the Pakistani government committed itself
to stop al Qaeda operatives at its border, share intelligence on
terrorist activities and movements, and break off all ties with the
Taliban government in Kabul if it refused to hand over Bin Laden and the
al Qaeda leadership. President Musharraf's decision to fight the
terrorists was made at great personal risk. He leads a country that the
terrorists seek to use as a base of operations, and they take advantage
of every opportunity to create chaos and destabilize the country. The
terrorists have tried to assassinate President Musharraf on a number of
occasions, because they know he stands in the way of their hateful
vision for his country. He is a man of courage, and I appreciate his
friendship and his leadership.

Pakistan now has the opportunity to write a new chapter in its history,
and the United States wants to build a broad and lasting strategic
partnership with the people of Pakistan. And in my meetings with
President Musharraf, we'll be discussing areas that are critical to the
American-Pakistan relationship.

First, the United States and Pakistan will continue our close
cooperation in confronting and defeating the terrorists in the war on
terror. Second, the United States and Pakistan understand that in the
long run, the only way to defeat the terrorists is through democracy.

Pakistan still has a distance to travel on the road to democracy, yet it
has some fundamental institutions that a democracy requires. Pakistan
has a lively and generally free press. I'm confident I will hear from
them on my trip to Pakistan. (Laughter.) Occasionally, there's
interference by security forces, but it's a strong press. Pakistanis
are free to criticize their government, and they exercise that right
vigorously. There are a number of political parties and movements that
regularly challenge the government. President Musharraf remains
committed to a moderate state that respects the role of Islam in
Pakistani society while providing an alternative to Islamic radicalism.
The United States will continue to work with Pakistan to strengthen the
institutions that help guarantee civil liberties and help lay the
foundations for a democratic future for the Pakistani people.

The United States and Pakistan both want the elections scheduled for
next year to be successful. This will be an important test of
Pakistan's commitment to democratic reform, and the government in
Islamabad must ensure that these elections are open and free and fair.
The Pakistanis are taking this step toward democracy at a difficult time
in their history. There are determined enemies of freedom attacking
from within. We understand this struggle; we understand the pressure.
And the United States will walk with them on their path to freedom and

The United States and Pakistan both want to expand opportunity for the
Pakistani people. Opportunity starts with economic growth, and that is
why President Musharraf has made economic reform a priority for his
administration. These reforms have helped Pakistan's economy grow
rapidly last year. There is strong economic vitality in that country,
and we will help Pakistan build on that momentum.

We're taking several steps to open up markets and expand trade. And
these include efforts to conclude a bilateral investment treaty that
would establish clear and transparent rules to provide greater certainty
and encourage foreign direct investment. By fostering economic
development and opportunity, we will reduce the appeal of radical Islam,
and demonstrate that America is a steadfast friend and partner of the
Pakistani people.

The United States and Pakistan are working together to improve
educational opportunities for the Pakistani people. Young men in
Pakistan need a real education that provides the skills required in the
21st-century workplace. Pakistan needs to improve literacy for its
women and help more Pakistani girls have the opportunity to go to

Last year, the United States provided $66 million to help improve
Pakistani education, especially in the least developed regions of the
country. This is money well spent. We're glad to partner with the
Pakistan government to help train primary school teachers and
administrators, and build new schools, and adapt existing ones so that
young girls can attend school. These funds also support the largest
Fulbright program in the world -- an educational exchange that brings
Pakistani scholars to America and American scholars to Pakistan. By
helping Pakistan increase the educational opportunities for its people,
we'll help them raise their standard of living, and help them
marginalize the terrorists and the extremists.

The Pakistani people saw America's commitment to their future when we
responded in their hour of need. When a devastating earthquake hit a
remote area in the mountains of north Pakistan, it claimed more than
73,000 lives, and displaced more than 2.8 million people from their
homes. American relief workers were on the ground within 48 hours.
Since then, we've pledged more than a-half-a-billion dollars for relief
and reconstruction, including $100 million in private donations from our
citizens. These funds have helped to build 228 tent schools, improve
shelter for over half a million people, and feed over a million folks.
Our compassion is making a difference in the lives of the Pakistanis,
and it's making a difference in how they view America.

The terrorists have said that America is the Great Satan. Today, in the
mountains of Pakistan, they call our Chinook helicopters "angels of
mercy." Across their country, the Pakistani people see the generous
heart of America. Our response has shown them that our commitments to
Pakistan are real and lasting. We care about the people in that
important country. When they suffer, we want to help.

The great changes that are taking place inside India and Pakistan are
also helping to transform the relationship between these two countries.
One encouraging sign came after the earthquake, when India offered
assistance to Pakistan, and President Musharraf accepted. India sent
tents and blankets and food and medicine, and the plane that delivered
the first load of supplies was the first Indian cargo aircraft to land
in Islamabad since the 1971 war. India and Pakistan must take advantage
of this opening to move beyond conflict and come together on other
issues where they share common interests.

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

India and Pakistan are increasing the direct links between their
countries, including a rail line that has been closed for four decades.
Trade between India and Pakistan grew to more than $800 million from
July of 2004 to July of 2005 -- nearly double the previous year. The
governments of India and Pakistan are now engaged in dialogue about the
difficult question of Kashmir. For too long, Kashmir has been a source
of violence and distrust between these two countries. But I believe
that India and Pakistan now have an historic opportunity to work toward
lasting peace. Prime Minister Singh and President Musharraf have shown
themselves to be leaders of courage and vision. On my visit, I will
encourage them to address this important issue. America supports a
resolution in Kashmir that is acceptable to both sides.

This is a sensitive time in South Asia. In Pakistan and other
countries, images broadcast around the world have inflamed passions, and
these passions have been cynically manipulated to incite violence.
America believes that people have the right to express themselves in a
free press. America also believes that others have the right to
disagree with what's printed in the free press, and to respond by
organizing protests, so long as they protest peacefully. And when
protests turn violent, governments have an obligation to restore the
rule of law, protect lives and property, and ensure that diplomats who
are serving their nations overseas are not harmed. We understand that
striking the right balance is difficult, but we must not allow mobs to
dictate the future of South Asia.

In this vital region, the stakes are high and the opportunities are
unprecedented. With the end of the Cold War and the fall of the
Taliban, more and more people are looking forward to a future of
freedom. As freedom spreads, it's bringing hope to hundreds of millions
who know nothing but despair. And as freedom spreads, it's sweeping
away old grievances, and allowing people in Central Asia, and South
Asia, and beyond to take their rightful place in the community of

This vision will take years to achieve, but we can proceed with
confidence, because we know the power of freedom to transform lives and
cultures and overcome tyranny and terror. We can proceed with
confidence because we have two partners -- two strong partners -- in
India and Pakistan.

Some people have said the 21st century will be the Asian century. I
believe the 21st century will be freedom's century. And together, free
Asians and free Americans will seize the opportunities this new century
offers and lay the foundation of peace and prosperity for generations to

May God bless India and Pakistan. May God continue to bless the United
States. (Applause.)

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on February 22, 2006 1:57 PM.

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