From Shyam Bhatia DH News Service Washington:
Just days ahead of his visit to India, US President George W Bush on Wednesday said India has to separate its civilian and military nucelar programmes and bring the civilian ones under IAEA safeguards which he admitted was not an easy decision to make.
He described India as a global leader and friend, saying relations between the two countries have “never been better”.
In a keynote speech to the Asia Society in Washington, Mr Bush alluded to the civil nuclear initiative currently under discussion in Washington and Delhi. He said it would take “time and patience” to implement this plan, but stressed it was important for India to separate its civil and military nuclear programmes and “bring them into the international nuclear mainstream.”
The reference to the pending nuclear deal was made in the context of the US and India working together to meet their energy needs in a practical way. Mr Bush said this was one of five areas where both countries could work together to advance their strategic partnership.
Among the other areas of bilateral collaboration listed by the US president were the sharing of vital information on suspected terrorist threats, working to support democracy across the world through such newly launched institutions as the Global Democracy Initiative.
Mr Bush singled out India’s aid pledge of $565 million to Afghanistan, which he described as an emerging democracy. Significantly, many of the president’s comments were addressed to India’s emergence as a major economic power and the opportunities that are becoming available for US business.
He said US exports to India had jumped by 30 per cent and India was now one of the fastest growing markets for US exports. “The growing affluence of India is a positive issue for our country”, Mr Bush said. “We welcome the growing prosperity of India and the potential market for US goods and services. As other nations prosper, they bring stability and new opportunities for US exports.”
He added the Indian middle class of 300 million — greater than the US population — was buying air conditioners, kitchen appliances and washing machines from American companies. Air India had recently placed an order for $11 billion worth of aircraft from Boeing.
Mr Bush agreed that outsourcing had been a source of concern because of job losses that occurred as companies moved their businesses to India. “But rather than respond with protectionist policies, we should respond with educational policies”, he declared.
Singling out the experience of Texas Instruments which opened its first office in Bangalore 20 years ago, Mr Bush said: “by opening up in India they were able to run design centres around the clock.
This helped Texas Instruments to become more competitive.” “India has opened its markets”, Mr Bush agreed, “but it needs to lift its caps on foreign investment and lower tariffs on American agricultural goods, industrial products and services.”
India, US sharing vital information on terror
Both working to support democracy across the world
US exports to India up 30%
Indian middle class of 300 million — greater than the US population — was buying air conditioners, kitchen appliances and washing machines from American companies.
Outsourcing a source of concern because of job losses
India needs to lift its caps on foreign investment and lower tariffs on US farm goods, industrial products and services