April 2002 News

US has quietly reshaped South Asia: Powell

25 April 2002
The Pioneer

Washington DC: The United States has said it has "reshaped a good part of South Asia" as a result of the "quiet, steady course of diplomacy" behind the war on terrorism during the past seven months. "The us has reshaped a good part of South Asia - a new US-Pakistan relationship, a reinvigorated US-India relationship, a new interim authority in Kabul, and the Taliban and the terrorists dead, in jail or on the run," secretary of state Colin Powell told the Senate appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations on Wednesday. The US is also forming important new relationships with the nations of Central Asia and helping friends and allies fight the scourge of terrorism "from the marble-floored banks of Europe to the forested gorges of Georgia," Powell added. Asked whether the US has asked Pakistan to deny sanctuary to the al-Qaeda and Taliban fleeing from Afghanistan, Powell said Washington has been working with Islamabad on this issue. These are tough areas and it is not just a matter of going and occupying with military forces. It takes intelligence work and liaison work and president Musharraf has been quite forthcoming - more so than people might have expected at the beginning of the campaign," he said. Meanwhile, asserting that "quite and steady diplomacy" has reinvigorated Indo-US relationship, Powell said that Beijing has helped Washington in reducing tension between India and Pakistan. Powell said China has not tried to be a spoiler but instead tried to help the US alleviate tensions the Indo-Pak tension and convince the two parties to scale down their dangerous confrontation, which hopefully is happening. "We will continue to work with Beijing as the situation evolves", Powell said adding "China has supported the approach that the rest of the international community has taken". He said the us shared with China a relationship which was "candid where we disagree; constructive where we see some daylight; and cooperative where we have common regional or global interests." However, Powell admitted that there were other interests where the two countries "decidedly do not see eye-to-eye, such as (US) arms sales to Taiwan, human rights, religious freedom and non-proliferation", though he said on such issues, the two countries can talk and work out ways to cooperate. "We do not want the interests where we differ to constrain US from pursuing those where we share common goals. And that is the basis upon which our relations are going rather smoothly at present", he said.


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