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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2004 > March

Interview by Karan Singh of Doordarshan News

Secretary Colin L. Powell
New Delhi, India
March 16, 2004

MR. SINGH: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has said that bilateral ties with India and America are best now than they have ever been. To tell us more, I am now joined by the Secretary of State himself. Mr. Powell, let me start by asking you its about concerning India over the anti outsourcing wave, is this a big problem or is it election rhetoric?

SECRETARY POWELL: It is a real problem when people lose jobs, it becomes a political problem. And outsourcing has caused the loss of some jobs in the United States.

But outsourcing is just a fact of life in this 21st century, global economic environment in which we live. We outsource to India. India, in some instances, outsources back to the United States when Indian businessmen ask for American lawyers or accountants or others to provide a service for Indian businesses.

And so what we have to do is make sure our people understand what outsourcing is about. How it is important to us and important to the nation when we outsource jobs, and then work hard to make sure to provide alternatives for those workers who have lost their jobs, and also to make sure that in our trade relations with other nations, they are encouraging us to invest and to trade with them by removing barriers and taking other actions that make it easier to enter into their markets, into the Indian market. In fact, it has turned out to be one of the major subjects we talked about today, how India can delve further with respect to economic reform and make it easier for the United States to do this with India, to the benefit of India and to the benefit of the United States.

MR. SINGH: The problem is the dawn of that is more on what America saw the problem- barriers to American trade- rather than America following the free trade policy itself. Do you think itís a problem with American trade relations with India?

SECRETARY POWELL: No, I donít think thereís a problem, itís just that itís a maturing relationship. I mean trade grew by some 20 percent last year. Thatís pretty good. But itís been fairly low base. We think that trade should be multiples of that, many multiples of that. The size of Indiaís economy and population, the size of the United Statesí economy and population. India is going to become a major trading partner and we should do everything we can to encourage that kind of progress and growth. It benefits both peoples.

But we have to work through some reform issues having to do with the ability of Americans to have more direct investment into Indian activities. Should India be doing more with respect to privatization? How can these bureaucratic impediments that might exist to trade? These are the kinds of issues that any two trading nations that want to improve their relationship should work through. So itís a matter of both sides working together.

In fact what we did say at one of the outcomes of my meetings today was, in conversations with the Foreign Minister and with your Minister of Finance and your National Security Advisor, Brajesh Mishra. We said we need to elevate this dialogue with respect to economic activity and put some working groups together who will lay out the various issues to see which can be solved in a reasonable period of time and then lay out a timeline to solve it.

So I think this reflects the strength of our relationship. It is so, such a pleasure, so delightful to be in India for the fourth time, when most of our conversations take place around issues of trade, issues of proliferation and security, working together to stop the flow of weapons of mass destruction. All of that is so refreshing compared to the kinds of conflict potential that we hear of previously.

MR. SINGH: There is a lot of feeling in this country that U.S. has double standard. That when there is a dictator who with no weapons of mass destruction, as yet, you go to war with him and thereís a dictator that has weapons of mass destruction and is crippling them all across the world, you take no action.

SECRETARY POWELL: We take action against all proliferators. It doesnít always mean that the action has to be a military action. With respect to Saddam Hussein, we took action there because he had ignored the directions of the international community for twelve years. And we also had somebody who had used weapons of mass destruction against his neighbors and against his own people. I mean itís a clear case.

With respect to other countries such as Libya, Iran and North Korea, we are using political and diplomatic methods with respect to Pakistan. We gave information to Pakistan with respect to the activities of Dr. A.Q. Khan and we made it clear that we knew a great deal about this network, we shared that information, and we worked with Pakistan to the point where President Musharraf took action. Dr. Khan made a public acknowledgment of all he has been doing over the years, and doing it not for the benefit of Pakistan, but to benefit nations that should not be in possession of this kind of technology and therefore, we are now in the process of totally tearing up Dr. Khanís network. And in my conversations with President Musharraf later this week, I will try to find out all we can and theyíve been very forthcoming in sharing information with us, all we can, about their network.

MR. SINGH: Fair enough. You are saying you have had information all this while that A.Q. Kahn has been up to proliferate. Tell me why you have not taken action so far. Is there a lack of political will in America to deal with Pakistan?

SECRETARY POWELL: Itís not just a matter of having information. You have to make sure the information is accurate and useful. And then we had a case that was useful and actionable and we knew a great deal about this network. What we knew we took it to the Pakistanis and said itís time for all of this to come to an end. And we called up President Musharraf and said President Bush was going to be acting on this and speaking out about it.

And what really triggered it all was when the Libyans came forward with their decision to get rid of all weapons of mass destruction. Some of the information we got from the Libyans confirmed much of the information that we had about Dr. A.Q. Khan in the way that we can make that an absolutely ironclad case. And when we did that, President Musharraf acted.

And letís not underestimate the importance of Dr. Khan coming out on television saying, "I did this. I acknowledge that this was wrong," and given a conditional amnesty by the President. My concern was getting rid of the network, getting rid of potential weapons of mass destruction components to go to places like Libya, like North Korea, and other such places. That has been brought to an end.

Now, what Dr. Khanís accountability is or how we are dealt with by the Pakistani government is up to Pakistani government. What we were after was the network, and we have got the network.

QUESTION: Now what about peace initiatives between India and Pakistan, do you see that being successful?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well I certainly hope so and I think it can be successful. I think it was a very bold move in part of Prime Minister Vajpayee and President Musharraf to enter into this comprehensive dialogue in January. They know that eight baskets that contain all the elements of the dialogue and the tight schedule has been set for these dialogues to take place between now and summer. Thatís also been matched by a significant reduction of violence along the Line of Control. The cease-fire is pretty much holding.

So I think the circumstances are in place for there to be progress. One, both leaders are committed. But I think most importantly, both people, I think, want to see progress, want to see peace. And if the peoples are coming together on this issue, and the leaders are committing themselves to this issue, then why shouldnít there be progress.

MR. SINGH: Youíre not a cricket fan but thereís a cricket season between India and Pakistan. Do you think sport like cricket can do something that politicians cannot do?

SECRETARY POWELL: You know it is fascinating what sports can do. I can go back through the years longer and tell you that it is a simple ping pong match that got the United States and China into a discussion that led to the kind of relationship we now have with China. Iím not suggesting the same is the case here.

But when people come together, go to each otherís country, and watch a conflict being played out on the field of sport, as opposed to the field of battle, and you see people can do this and appreciate the other side, appreciate the power the other side brings to the field, then why canít that same spirit, that same philosophy infect other aspects of relations. And let that be a hope, letís hope that the spirit of cricket that we have seen the last few days affects the whole comprehensive dialogue between the two sides.

MR. SINGH: Youíre here at a time when election process in India is starting off. How does the U.S. public and the U.S. administration view the Indian election?

SECRETARY POWELL: With great interest. India, we like to say, are the two greatest democracies here. The oldest, the United States, and the largest, India. You have a fascinating electoral system. I learned a lot about it from the Foreign Minister today who, immediately after our meeting, took a train to go up to his constituency to campaign tonight. I wish Sinha all the best in his campaigning.

And you have an electronic system in which what Iíve been told today is perhaps superior to the many systems we have in our country. So we are watching a democracy in action again. And we hope that it will be a well-fought battle between those who are vying for political power and the people of India will speak as to how they wish for it to be done in the future.

The United States will respond in a way to whoever prevails in this contest, because we know that in the democratic contest, the results will rest on a solid democratic base. We also know that the relationship now existing with India and the United States is so strong, strong bilateral relationship that we look forward to working with whatever leadership the Indian people decide to put it on.

Mr. Powell, thank you very much. Well there you have it, the Secretary of State, very positive about India and American and also the election and the cricket season. Back to you in the studio.

Thank you.

Released on March 16, 2004

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