Tuesday, February 28, 2006

President Bush en route to India, Pakistan

Leaving his political troubles over `Portgate' behind for the moment, President Bush will make an historic trip to the Indian subcontinent, meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

"The United States has not always enjoyed close relations with Pakistan and India," Bush said. "In the past, the Cold War and regional tensions kept us apart. But, today our interests and values are bringing us closer together."

In India, the president will probably be trying to work out the final details and perhaps even signing a nuclear cooperation deal with India. The idea is to seperate India's civilian and military nuclear program. India would be able to obtain help for its civilian energy program, if it agrees to IAEA safeguards.

Other topics Bush is likely to discuss with PM Singh in India are trade and investment, joint strategies for dealing with Iran and security cooperation.

Bush will likewise probably discuss these topics with Pakistan's President Musharref.

Lots of special `festivities' are scheduled for President Bush arrival in Pakistan.
Pakistani authorities have banned demonstrations in several major cities, and rounded up dozens of likely troublemakers and hard line Islamist imams. A nationwide strike is reportedly being scheduled while the president is in the region.

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