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President Bush leaves for South Asia next Tuesday to help foster greater freedom in the region
From Fazle Rashid

          NEW YORK, Feb 24: As the date of President Bush's impending visit to the South Asians nations of India and Pakistan is approaching, the pressure on the White House is mounting to clinch the nuclear deal providing New Delhi with modern technology to strengthen India's nuclearprowess.
There have been articles in Newsweek and Wall Street Journal strongly arguing the case for India. President Bush, however, made it clear the other day that US nuclear assistance to India is contingent upon New Delhi demarcating and clearly drawing a line between its use of nuclear power for civilian and military purposes. India must throw open its nuclear installations for civil purposes for international inspections.
India will have the prerogative to keep its nuclear facilities for military purposes under utmost secrecy. President Bush has also made it clear that the US nuclear assistance to India will not be at the cost of bilateral ties between America and Pakistan.
President Bush leaves for South Asia on Tuesday. He will spend most of his time in New Delhi . He will make brief trip to Hyderabad to see India's magic advancement in the field of information technology (IT) sector. He will be in Pakistan for a day. Bush goal is to foster greater freedom in the region, facilitate peace between the two feuding nations and help thwart terrorism. As South Asia develops economically and politically, 'it will be a source of peace and stability and prosperity for the whole world', President Bush said.
President Bush held out hope that India and Pakistan's
collaborative efforts with the US will help stamp out ' Islamic Jihadists '.
America's strong ties with either India and Pakistan makes the other nation nervous and suspicious. Warm ties with the US can help both countries in their common quest for peace and harmony, President Bush said while addressing a gathering at the Asian Society in Washington.
President Bush was happy to note that the animosity between India and Pakistan has diminished.
There is stiff opposition in India to the proposed deal. International inspection of India's civilian nuclear facilities is being seen as anaffront to India's sovereignty. There are pressure groups who strongly feel that the US nuclear assistance to India will not be seen as a friendly gesture. Such a deal will make China, Iran and Russia to distance themselves from India. There is fear among Indians that closer ties with the USA will undermine New Delhi's ties with many Middle East and South American countries with whom Washington does not have the best of ties.
The Communist Party (Maxxist) of India, a coalition partner has been openly critical of US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. It will stage street rallies to protest Bush's visit to India.
The criticism of the US has not remained confined to political parties only. The US ambassador to India was at the centre of a controversy after the diplomat had publicly warned India that should New Delhi fail to comply with America'n request for referring Iran to the UN security council, the nuclear deal will fall through. The US-India ties went downslide further when American embassy refused to give visa to two Indian scientists.
Any way Bush's trip to South Asia will be watched with keen interest not only in the region but in countries as far as China, Japan , Iran and other Arab Nations.
Egypt, in the meanwhile has turned down US request for stopping aid to Palestine. Iran has promised to help Palestine. Venezuela strongly rebuffed US secretary of state for her statement saying Venezuela has been a very bad influence in the region.


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