Dateline New Delhi, Friday, Mar 3, 2006


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India is a global power: Bush

      New Delhi: Wrapping up his three-day tour of India, US President George W Bush said on Friday that the world's oldest and largest democracies had many commonalities that could make their strategic partnership the cynosure of the globe in the 21st century. Addressing a distinguished gathering of ministers and officials from within Purana Qila, a national heritage site, Bush highlighted the goals of the Indo-US relationships and the achievements of his visit before emplaning for Pakistan on a two- day visit. Bush said that the relationship between India and the United States was 'closer than ever before' and had the power to transform the world. "I have come to India as a friend," he said.

      Observing that India and the US would lead the way in meeting the global challenges of the future, he said the biggest challenge to both was that of meeting their respective energy requirements. In this regard, he said the landmark Indo-US nuclear deal reached on Thursday, reflected a desire on the part of both countries to implement this "historic initiative" which would strengthen the economy of both countries. In his address, which was telecast live in the US, Bush hard- sold the nuclear agreement. He said that as per the agreement, 14 of India's civilian and nuclear plants would now be put under permanent international safeguards while India's future civilian - thermal and breeder reactors - too will be put under permanent international safeguards. In return, he said that US has assured India of uninterrupted supply of nuclear fuel.

     Addressing the issue of terrorism, he said that both the United States and India had been victims of this menace, and continued to be so as on date. Recalling 9/11, he said nearly 3,000 innocent people had been murdered, including 30 who were of Indian origin. India, too, he said, had suffered a terrorist strike in the capital Delhi barely three months ago. "They (the terrorists) think that they can terrorise us, but terrorists have misunderstood both of us. We love our freedom and we fill fight for it," he said. Bush also said he was "dazzled" by the ancient land, which was the birthplace of many great religions which live side by side peacefully. "You are inspired by the past and you can see the future. India is a natural ally for us," he said amid applause from the gathering.

      He said the United States intended to open a new consulate in Hyderabad and an American Centre in Delhi. Noting the contributions of people of Indian descent to American life, he made a special mention of astronaut Kalpana Chawla, who lost her life in the Columbia Space Shuttle crash in 2003. Bush said that for every nation divided by race, religion and culture, "India offers a hopeful path". "World benefitted from the example of India's democracy... it is a global power," Bush said. The US President also praised India's efforts in contributing to the rehabilitation of Afghanisation after the eviction of the Taliban.

     Bush ruled out any protectionist measures to address his domestic concerns on outsourcing and favoured easy access for Indian students to American universities and schools. "I have taken a position. The US will reject protectionism. We won't fear competition. We welcome competition," he told the gathering at Pura Qila and to students and young entrepreneurs at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, which has collaboration with Wharton School and Kellog School of Management. He said India has to lift caps on foreign investment and further open its markets to US business. Making a strong case for liberalising world trade, Bush said he and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were committed to completing the Doha round of WTO talks by the end of this year. He said US would make ambitious proposals at the WTO on agriculture, manufacturing and services. The Doha round provides greatest opportunity to create prosperity for millions of people around the world and US and India will lead the way, Bush said. Alluding to India's leadership role among developing countries at the WTO, he said it can be a leverage for opening up markets in rest of countries. Bush, who will hold talks with President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad on Saturday, said there was a time when US' good relations with Pakistan posed concern for India but that no longer holds good now. "India is better off because of close relations between US and Pakistan and Pakistan is better off because of close relations between US and India", he said. Bush said during his meeting with Musharraf he would discuss the continuing need for vital cooperation in the war on terrorism. A prosperous and democratic Pakistan was a steadfast ally of America and a peaceful neighbour for India, he said.

      The highlights of Bush's address at Purana Qila are: * I have come to India as a friend: Bush * India, US are united by opportunities: Bush * India, US closer than ever before: Bush * US-India partnership begins with democracy but does not end there: Bush * Indo-US partnership has the power to transform the world: Bush * If we work together, there is no limit of what we can achieve: Bush * I am delighted to be in India, grateful for grand reception: Bush * I am dazzled by the great country: Bush * Respect from the world's oldest democracy to the largest democracy: Bush * US welcomes Indias economic rise: Bush * It's a great civilisation that gave mathematics, gave birth to many religions: Bush * 80,000 Indian students in US more than from any country: Bush * We recognise India's contribution to the world in the field of technology, medicine, business: Bush * Indo-US partnership is deep and we share common values: Bush * Both nations working to spread prosperity for their people: Bush * India's economic reforms wise: Bush * Indians have made great contributions to US: Bush * Indians are today members of our armed forces: Bush * Three years ago, we lost a great astronaut of Indian origin in Kalpana Chawla: Bush * We will confront Avian Flu and TB together * Indian must confront AIDS at all levels of society, US will help it: Bush * India is a great country: Bush * I was excited to be in Sania Mirza's city (Hyderabad) today: Bush * India well connected to global economy today: Bush * India's middle class prosperity is an opportunity for US: Bush * Today India has more cellphones than landlines: Bush * Your economy has doubled since you opened your economy: Bush * World needs India's leadership to open global markets at WTO: Bush * In a free economy, every citizen has something to contribute: Bush * In my country some focus only on outsourcing: Bush * It is true that some have lost jobs in US: Bush.

Bush leaves India for Pakistan

    New Delhi: US President George W Bush and First Lady Laura Bush left in Air Force One for Pakistan after completing a significant three-day visit to India. Air Force One left the technical area of Palam Airport a little after 8 p.m. (IST). The visit to India included one-to-one and delegation-level talks between the two sides, during which both Bush and Prime Minister Singh agreed to finalise the July 18, 2005 civilian nuclear agreement. It was agreed that India would place 14 of its 22 nuclear reactors under international safeguards and offer future fast breeder reactors for international safeguards post 2014. In return, the United States said that it would provide uninterrupted nuclear energy supplies to India. The nuclear agreement apart, the Bush's also visited Hyderabad where they interacted with farmers, weavers and students of an agricultural university and a business school. In Pakistan, Bush is expected to press President Musharraf to crack down on alleged terrorist camps in Pakistan and reinforce Pakistan's status as an ally of the United States in the global war on terror.

Bush arrives in Hyderabad amidst protest

      Hyderabad: US President George W Bush arrived here from New Delhi. From the airport, Bush will proceed to the Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University (ANGRAU). At the university campus, the US President will be welcomed by members of the Koya tribe belonging to Tummala village in Chintur Mandal of Khammam district. According to sources, during the 90-minute visit to the university, Bush will interact with a select group of scientists, farmers, and women from self-help groups apart from a one-on-one meeting with Dr Reddy. The university is involved in US-India knowledge initiative on agriculture. The business school is affiliated with the Wharton and Kellogg School of Management. Bush could also formally announce the setting up of a US Consulate in Hyderabad. Over 10,000 police and special trained forces are placed on a high state of alert. However, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimen has told Muslims in the city to release black balloons to protest the President's visit. They say the shutdown in the Old City part of Hyderabad was a message that the President was not welcome. He is also to visit Pakistan in his tour to the sub-continent.

Tight security marks Bush visit to Hyderabad

      Unprecedented security arrangements are in place as Bush spends about eight hours in Andhra Pradesh capital, Hyderabad. Andhra Pradesh is seen as the hotbed of Maoist rebels, who claim that they are fighting for the rights of poor peasants. Bush is visiting Hyderabad to see and address students of a top business school and an agricultural university. Apart from the U.S. secret service agents who are accompanying Bush, at least 12,000 state police personnel have been deployed for various security drills. Air space over Hyderabad has been declared completely out of bounds for incoming and outgoing flights during the duration of the visit.

     Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajashekhara Reddy told reporters here on the eve of the U.S.President's visit that Bush wanted to have first hand experience of the southern state's march in agriculture. "Especially, he chose to come first at the agriculture university. He wants to acquaint himself with the way agriculture is going forward in the state, he wants to see the various agriculture practices in the state and the focus on the horticulture," Reddy said. Bush is visiting Acharya N.G Ranga Agricultural University at Rajendranagar and Indian School of Business (ISB) at Guchibowli, both on city outskirts, about 15 km from Hyderabad. A delegation of farmers would present a memorandum to Bush with a request for more exchange of ideas and expertise in agriculture. "We request George bush to view mutual awareness tours for Indian farmers who would go to America and vice versa. Also exchange of expertise and latest technology between Indian and American farmers," said G. Venkataram Raju, a farmer. Bush would be the first US President to see how farming is done in India, with an aim to set a tone of series of agricultural joint projects by both the countries..

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