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Indian Minister of External Affairs & Colin Powell

Indian Minister of External Affairs & Colin Powell

Remarks with Indian Minister of External Affairs Yashwant Sinha After Their Meeting

Secretary Colin L. Powell Washington, DC September 9, 2002

SECRETARY POWELL: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It was my pleasure to host Minister Sinha. We have met a number of times already during his short tenure and I think we'll meet many, many times again in the near future in a variety of fora.

But today, we had a good opportunity to discuss some immediate regional issues -- Afghanistan, the situation along the line of control -- but most of our time was spent on the broader bilateral relationship between India and the United States. We talked about ways of enhancing the dialogue with respect to high-tech trade, with respect to civilian nuclear activities, with respect to economic activity, with respect to sharing research with each other and encouraging investment and research in both nations.

And so I was very pleased with the conversation because it has been so expanded in the sense that we don't just talk about an immediate problem, but we talk about the elements in our relationship that our two peoples are looking for us to talk about -- economics, trade, research and development, cooperation in a variety of different areas -- and we are looking forward to President Bush meeting with Prime Minister Vajpayee later this week to pursue these issues as well as topical regional issues.

So, my colleague, it's a great pleasure to have you here today and I invite you to say a word, sir.

FOREIGN MINISTER SINHA: Thank you, Mr. Secretary, friends. As has been already pointed out to you by Secretary of State, we had a very fruitful meeting. I am very glad that we had this meeting in the State Department. We have covered a wide variety of areas in our bilateral relationship, and I am particularly happy that in my meetings with Secretary Colin Powell, both in Delhi and here, we have laid a great deal of emphasis on furthering our bilateral cooperation in various areas.

And today's meeting was particularly fruitful. We have also agreed on what could be the substance of discussions between the Prime Minister and the President and I am quite sure that the agenda that we have agreed upon will give a further push to our bilateral relationship in all the Secretary of State mentioned just now.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Do you fully back India on the United Nations permanent Security seat that India is seeking on the United Nations permanent seat in the United Nations?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we didn't discuss that today, and as you know, we keep an open mind as to how the UN might be reorganized. There are a number of proposals that have been out there for years, but I don't think it was a subject for the present moment.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, have you had a chance on a busy day to analyze Arafat's speech? There's no reference to suicide bombing, but he does criticize attacks.

SECRETARY POWELL: I haven't had a chance to analyze it and I will do so in the course of the afternoon. And I know he condemned violence but I really don't think I want to get into the specifics simply because I've been tied up all day so far and haven't had a chance to study the speech.

QUESTION: Sir, have you had a chance to talk about in a cross-border terrorism and what kind of message Mr. Sinha brought with him as far as India's perceptions as it stands today?

SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, we discussed the situation across the border. I reaffirmed to the Minister that we would continue to press the Pakistani Government to do everything possible to stop the cross-border infiltration and remind them of the commitment they had made not only to the United States but to the international community that it would not support such activity and would work actively to stop it. And we also talked about the upcoming elections and I reaffirmed to the Minister that we have spoken with the Pakistanis about not interfering in any way with those elections, which we expect will be free and fair, and there will be an opportunity for people to see that the elections are being held in an open, free and fair manner.

You might wish to add a word, sir.

FOREIGN MINISTER SINHA: Well, I'm absolutely totally satisfied with the discussion that we had and what Secretary Colin Powell has said just now. Thank you.


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