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

SHARE Bush: ``May God bless India and Pakistan’’
SHARE Bush: ``May God bless India and Pakistan’’

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:

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

________________________________________________________________

For Immediate Release February 22, 2006

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT

TO THE ASIA SOCIETY

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

areas.

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

overseas.

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

democracy.

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

school.

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

directly.

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

nations.

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

come.

May God bless India and Pakistan. May God continue to bless the United

States. (Applause.)

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