U.S., India Partnership Makes World Safer, Bush Says
By Steven Donald Smith
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 2, 2006 The United States and India have built a strategic partnership based on shared democratic values and a desire to defeat terrorism, President Bush said in New Delhi today.
"Terrorism has no place in democracy, and terrorism must be defeated for our children and grandchildren to be able to live in a peaceful world," Bush said during a news conference hosted by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. "We're working as partners to make the world safer."
The president said India and America both believe that "every person matters, every person belongs, and everybody should be able to worship as freely as they want to." India is the world's most populous democratic state, with a diverse religious and cultural make-up.
The way to defeat terrorists in the short term, Bush said, is through good intelligence. "One way we work together on terrorism is to make sure intelligence services share information," he said.
Singh concurred. "I was particularly pleased that we agreed on the need to root out terrorism, of which India has been a major victim," he said. "We must fight terrorism wherever it exists, because terrorism anywhere threatens democracy everywhere."
In the long run, terrorism will be defeated by giving people hope and opportunity, as opposed to systems of government which breed resentment, Bush said. He also said that terrorists must be given "no quarter" and that the prosecution of the war on terror must never yield.
Bush said he intends to bring the same message to President Perez Musharraf of Pakistan when he visits there following his trip to India.
On the democracy front, both the United States and India are participants in the U. N. Democracy Fund, which provides grants to help young democracies develop civil institutions and a free society. "I particularly want to thank the Indian people and the Indian government for supporting the new democracy in the neighborhood," Bush said.
He added that the Indians have pledged $565 million in reconstruction aid, and $50 million for the new national assembly building in Afghanistan.
"We seek a world free of poverty, ignorance, disease and the threat of terrorism," Singh said. "The United States and India must work together in all possible forms to promote these ends."
In addition, the two nations concluded a historic agreement on the nuclear issue today.
The agreement addresses India's surging energy needs for its growing economy. Both countries agreed to pursue civil nuclear cooperation. India said it would take steps that will bring it into the international nonproliferation mainstream, including placing its civilian nuclear facilities and programs under the International Atomic Energy Agency, U.S. officials said.
Bush also thanked India for sending aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina. "I was struck, and so were the American people, that the Indian air force delivered Hurricane Katrina aid to an air force base in Little Rock, Ark. And for that, Mr. Prime Minister, thank you," he said.
"We're partners in peace," Bush said. "And that's in the interests of our own people, as well as the interests of people around the world."
According to a White House fact sheet, the United States and India are also cooperating in the following areas:
- Maritime Security Cooperation: The United States and India are committed to a comprehensive cooperative effort to ensure a secure maritime domain.
- Counterterrorism: The United States and India are jointly expanding the scope of our counterterrorism cooperation, including work on bioterrorism and cybersecurity.
- Military Logistics Support: The United States and India will soon sign an agreement to facilitate mutual logistic support during combined training, exercises, and disaster relief operations.
- Defense Trade: The United States reaffirmed its goal to help meet India's defense needs and to provide the important technologies and capabilities that India seeks.
- Nonproliferation: Both countries support efforts to limit the spread of enrichment and reprocessing technologies and also support the conclusion of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty.