March 2006 News

US won't mediate on Kashmir, Bush tells Manmohan Singh

3 March 2006
The Daily Times
Iftikhar Gilani

New Delhi: US President George W Bush has told Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that he will not mediate on the Kashmir issue. “Kashmir and other issues should be better settled by the Indian and Pakistani governments,” Bush said, assuring Singh that the US would not mediate between both countries. Sources quoted him as telling Singh that he praised India’s stance against any third-party intervention on the Kashmir issue and hence there was no question of any kind of mediation. He was also quoted as telling Singh that though Pakistan was an important ally in the war on terror, the US would not mediate in the affairs of the two South Asian neighbours. The Indian prime minister had reportedly sought his help in pulling up President Pervez Musharraf for not dismantling alleged terror camps on the borders of Jammu and Kashmir and providing shelter to Indian fugitives wanted for heinous crimes. Bush also told the prime minister that he praised India’s positive role in the Afghanistan crisis and was concerned by the rapidly-spreading terror network. “On my trip to Islamabad, I will meet with President Musharraf to discuss Pakistan’s vital cooperation in the war on terror and our efforts to foster economic and political development, so that we can reduce the appeal of radical Islam,” Bush told a select group of Indian intellectuals, including politicians, strategic experts, diplomats, journalists and businessmen in the historic Purana Qila built by Afghan ruler Sher Shah Suri. He said that India should not be concerned by Pakistan’s cordial relations with the US. Later addressing young entrepreneurs at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad on Friday, Bush ruled out protectionist measures to address domestic concerns on outsourcing. “I have taken a position, that the US will reject protectionism. We won’t fear competition, we welcome it,” APP quoted Bush as saying. He also called on India to lift caps on foreign investment and continue lowering its tariffs on foreign imports. “India should open its markets to American agricultural products and industrial goods and services,” he said. He said that “free and fair trade is good for India, America and the world. The United States should see India as a land of opportunity instead of a threat,” he said.


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