of State Colin Powell
Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh
New Delhi, India
October 17, 2001
MINISTER SINGH: Ladies and gentlemen of the press, good afternoon. Its
my distinct pleasure to be here with my friend, the Secretary of State, to meet
all of you. I had the pleasure of the occasion to meet him very recently in
Washington on the 2nd of October, and I am delighted to be able to play host
to him since yesterday. He leaves shortly for Shanghai, but as the Prime Minister
informed the Secretary of State, we are not treating this visit by him as a
visit of the Secretary of State of the United States of America in lieu of a
We had, I had, a very cordial, very frank, and very fruitful discussion with
the Secretary of State yesterday where we spent just under an hour discussing
issues together and we had a pleasant supper together. We covered the entire
range of issues, bilateral India, the United States of America, regional, as
also global issues and, of course, in regional, asked that covering the latest
developments in Afghanistan, particularly on September 11 and thereafter October
2, came up for considerable extent of mutual discussion.
I do want to repeat that what the Prime Minister had said when he last addressed
the Joint Session of the U.S. Congress about India and the United States of
America being natural allies. I treat my friend Colins visit as part of
the same demonstration. We continue to hold that September 11 was an assault
on freedom, on civilization, on democracy, and Indias stand against terrorism
not simply starting from September 11, even before that, have been unequivocal
and we stand shoulder to shoulder with the international community and the United
States of America in our battle against this global menace.
It is my pleasure, ladies and gentlemen, to now request my friend and guest,
the Secretary of State, to share his thoughts with us. And, thereafter we are
in the hands of Nirupama, and you are in her hands.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much, Mr. Minister, for your warm welcome,
and Jaswant, I thank you for your friendship as well. It means a great deal
to me. And I thank you and all of your colleagues, especially the Prime Minister,
for the courtesies extended to me in this all too brief visit and I look forward
to returning at some future time and spending much more time here in India.
As you have noted we are natural allies. Two great democracies who believe in
a common set of values that have served both of our nations well. President
Bush has made it absolutely clear that transforming a relationship with India
and to putting it on a higher plane is one of his highest priorities. I have
found that this view is entirely shared by Prime Minister Vajpayee and his colleagues
The United States and India have a responsibility as the worlds largest,
multi-ethnic democracies to work in close partnership with each other. The prospects
have never been brighter for our cooperation across a whole range of issues
and we have discussed all of these issues in the past dozen or so hours. President
Bush asked me to come here to discuss the global coalition against terrorism,
and how the United States and India can continue our efforts over the long haul.
As an aside I might mention here and now that we know the Prime Minister will
be coming to the United States for the United Nations General Assembly meeting
in early November, and President Bush has extended an invitation to the Prime
Minister to come to Washington on the 9th of November for a working visit with
the President, and we look forward to receiving the Prime Minister in Washington
on the 9th of November and Im also pleased that, of course, that invitation
has been accepted and I can assure you, you will be warmly welcomed, Mr. Minister.
President Bush also asked me to convey his personal thanks to the Prime Minister
for the support we have already received from India and especially Foreign Minister
Singh who has been in the forefront of developing and presenting those support
offers to us over the past month. We have stood shoulder to shoulder in this
fight against terrorism. Both the United States and India were quick to realize
the attacks of September 11 were attacks on the whole world. Citizens of some
80 countries were among the victims, including many Indian citizens who remain
among the missing. Our hearts go out to the families of those here in India
who were lost, as do our heartfelt thanks to the people of India for the outpouring
of sympathy we have received for our own losses in the attacks.
I want to make it clear that our focus in Afghanistan now is eradicating the
Al Qaida network, to end the terrorist use of Afghanistan as a safe haven, to
stop the invasion of Afghanistan that has taken place as a result of the presence
of Al Qaida. We will achieve that goal. President Bush and the international
coalition are determined, and we will persist and we will prevail. Only after
the terrorists are gone can there be a broad-based government in Afghanistan
that represents all elements of Afghan society, brings an end to fighting, lives
in harmony with its neighbors and the neighborhood that it coexists in, begins
the task of reconstruction, and welcomes the refugees back home.
My colleagues here pointed out correctly that the problem of terrorism is not
limited to Afghanistan, and I assured them that our efforts are directed against
all terrorism. The United States and India are united against terrorism, and
that includes the terrorism that has been directed against India as well. Even
before the September 11 attacks, the United States and India were cooperating
extensively against terrorism. We established a counterterrorism joint working
group last January for example. And now our cooperation is even more intense.
Today, Home Minister Advani and I signed a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty that
will enhance our fight against crime. Though clearly a major focus of my trip
has been on ways the United States and India can work together in advancing
the international coalition against terrorism, my talks with the Prime Minister
and Foreign Minister and other officials covered many other important issues
as well. We agreed on the far-reaching importance of the new Indo-U.S. relationship,
which is anchored by the commitment of our leaders and by the friendship of
our peoples. I am confident that our relations, already improving substantially,
are becoming and will become even stronger. President Bushs waiver of
Glenn Amendment Sanctions allows the United States and India to move forward
with broader cooperation between the two sides.
During the course of my visit, I had occasion to discuss President Bushs
new strategic framework, and I briefed the Prime Minister on our continuing
exchanges with Russia on this very, very vital subject.
And we discussed how to promote stability on the subcontinent. In my talks both
here and in Pakistan, I have encouraged the leaders in both nations to continue
their dialogue and to take steps to reduce tension between them. I leave India
for the APEC Ministerial, confident that the United States and India stand together
against the scourge of international terrorism, strengthened by our shared democratic
values, and ready as never before to work together for freedom, prosperity,
and security in the region and in the world.
And finally, once again, my good friend, I thank you for the warm hospitality
you have extended to me. Thank you, Mr. Minister.
MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, the Secretary of State and the External Affairs
Minister will now take questions. We will have three questions from each side.
We will begin the first question from the Indian side and follow that sequence
for the American side asking the second question, and similarly the Indian side
and the American side following.
Please indicate to whom you are addressing the question and identify yourself
while asking the question.
QUESTION: [ASHOK] SHARMA, AP. How can Pakistan be part of international effort
to combat terrorism? Pakistan has supported terrorism in Afghanistan and Indian
space and still maintains diplomatic ties with the Taliban. Shouldnt India
be attacking Pakistan going by the logic of the United States of attacking Afghanistan?
FOREIGN MINISTER SINGH: I presume that question is addressed to me.
SECRETARY POWELL: You can take it! I would not want to be inhospitable. If you
wish it, its all yours. (Laughter)
I think Pakistan has made it clear in recent weeks that they recognize the nature
of the Taliban regime and they are working with us to fight against Al Qaida,
and they are working with us to see what kind of government can be put together
in a post-Taliban regime. We deplore terrorism wherever it exists, whether its
the kind of terrorism we saw on the 11th of September or the kind of terrorism
we saw on the 1st of October in Srinigar. And, we believe that all nations,
who are trying to move forward in a 21st century that I think will be shaped
more and more by democracy and the values of individual liberty and freedom,
can join in this coalition. We welcome all those who are committed to those
principles and are committed against terrorism.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, George Gedda of AP. You said yesterday in Pakistan
that Kashmir is a central issue between India and Pakistan, and you also said
the aspirations of the Kashmiri people must be respected. This caused some unease
here in India. Do you have any comment?
SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, I didnt say "a central". If you look
carefully, I said "central" in the sense that I believe its
an important issue and to suggest that it isnt wouldnt have been
accurate. But its more important to look at the rest of my statement,
where I said we should move forward on the basis of dialogue, on the basis of
efforts to reduce tension, to avoid violence, and with respect to human rights.
I think that is a sound statement. The issue of Kashmir is one that has to be
resolved between India and Pakistan.
The United States is a friend of both of those nations, to the extent that both
nations can find our efforts to be helpful in some way or another, we will be
willing to be helpful. But I think it is more important to focus on the rest
of my statement than that particular word which has somehow had an article slipped
in front of it while I wasnt looking.
QUESTION: (Inaudible). Usama Bin Laden in an interview (inaudible) claims that
the Islamic world helped Pakistan build the nuclear bomb and as such is an Islamic
bomb, and can be used by them as and when they choose. Your comments please.
SECRETARY POWELL: Nonsense. There is no such thing as -- Usama Bin Laden is
not a representative of Islam. He is a terrorist, he is a murderer, he has murdered
innocent Indians, innocent Americans, innocent Pakistanis, innocent people from
all over the world. And he should not in any way be elevated to the status of
a leader who believes in any faith. He believes only in power. He has done nothing
to help the people who are suffering in the world. All he has done is brought
more evil into the world, and death and destruction to individual citizens.
There can be no linkage between what he might be doing and what any other nation
may be doing. I just reject that as nonsense.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, Patrick Tyler of the New York Times. A couple of summers
ago, the Central Intelligence Agency was reported to suggest that Americas
plans to go forward with national missile defense would incite China to expand
its nuclear arsenal and that that in turn would incite India and Pakistan in
an arms race in South Asia. Do you personally agree with that assessment? And
you said you discussed strategic issues today, how did it come up today?
SECRETARY POWELL: No, I dont agree with that assessment. I think the kind
of missile defense that we are planning on is a very limited missile defense.
I think once people come to understand the kind of reductions we are going to
make in our strategic offensive weapons, significant reductions to much, much
lower numbers, and when people have a chance to get a look and come to understand
the nature of our limited missile defense, I dont think either Russia
or China will find it destabilizing with respect to their deterrent forces.
In my conversations both here and Islamabad, I heard from both sides about this
issue. We did have a conversation. I took the opportunity of my meeting with
the Prime Minister to describe the Presidents strategic framework concept
and to thank the Indians for their understanding of the importance of missile
defense. I get the sense that both nations understand the nature of these weapons
and the importance of constraining their developments so that they serve as
deterrents and do not move from a strategy of deterrence to any other kind of
strategy. So there is no reason for an arms race to develop based on what the
United States is planning with missile defense. In fact, I think missile defense
in the long run will be seen as stabilizing, not destabilizing, because it takes
some of the currency away from the value of strategic offensive weapons.
QUESTION: Sonia Trika, Indian Express. My question is addressed to both of you.
The Secretary said in Islamabad yesterday that you believe that the Kashmir
issue is central to the relationship between India and Pakistan. This is not
a view shared by India, which has advocated a composite dialogue covering various
political and economic aspects with Pakistan, and not a unifocal approach as
you have said that centers on Kashmir alone. Do you think that the world sees
the wisdom of Indias stand in this?
FOREIGN MINISTER SINGH: I cannot answer. I think the Secretary of State has
more than adequately really read out what he said in Islamabad. There are obviously
-- that is a position that the United States of America has and has had. And
as two democracies we could disagree on an event but we dont need necessarily
to be disagreeable about the disagreement and we can work together. The question
of the state of Jammu and Kashmir is an example of the secular traditions of
the Indian nation. In that sense, we really cannot move towards reinventing
the two nations (inaudible) and we have shared these views with the Secretary
of State and will continue to do so.
SECRETARY POWELL: I agree totally.
QUESTION: Martha Raddatz from ABC. Secretary Powell, there was a strain of anthrax
found in the letter to Senator Daschle that is said to be highly refined and
pure, suggesting state sponsorship. Could you comment on that? And Mr. Prime
Minister, do you have concerns --
FOREIGN MINISTER SINGH: Im not Prime Minister.
QUESTION: Im sorry, Im sorry (laughter). Im so sorry. Should
I ask forgiveness or should I be happy for him (laughter).
Could you tell me what your concerns are about the evolving and growing relationship
between the United States and Pakistan, and have you assured the United States
that youll do your part to calm down tensions in Kashmir?
FOREIGN MINISTER SINGH: I can answer that very easily, Im glad you asked
that. The relationship that India has and will develop with the United States
of America is not a hyphenated relationship. We dont see it through any
resin of relations between any other country. We have a relationship with our
western neighbor. We are committed.
This government has demonstrated the commitment of improving our relations with
Pakistan as perhaps no other government in the last fifty years has despite
the difficulties in several areas. The Prime Minister has often said, and he
repeated it to the Secretary of State, that you can change friends but you cant
change neighbors, and we can certainly not alter geography, and Pakistan, with
India, has to learn how to live together as good neighbors. It will come, be
assured we cannot push the pace of it. Nobody can push the pace of it.
To the people of the two countries, I have no doubt in my mind, realize the
essential sanity of what the Prime Minister of India has repeatedly said, that
the two people have to learn, have to forget the past, have to forget the mistakes
of the past 50 years and we have to learn to live together as we address what
are our real enemies of today poverty, want, as the two countries are
enabled to move together in the 21st century and meet the challenges of the
SECRETARY POWELL: I really cant add anything about the anthrax story and
the Daschle envelope and what they analyzed. I just have not any more information
than you already have from Washington, so I better stay away from that.
QUESTION: Anurag Thomar of Zee News. Minister, Secretary Powell, what is your
perception about India-U.S. relations after having a whole lot of meetings on
important issues with senior Indian leaders? Where does it stand today, where
does it go?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think our relations are strong. They have improved so much
in recent years. I was saying to my colleagues earlier that as Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff and in most of the years I spent in senior positions in
the U. S. military back in the 70s and through the 80s, we really
didnt have much to do with India regrettably. And that is now all changed.
It is all changed.
So these two great democracies can now work together on areas of mutual interest.
We are trying to remove whatever irritations exist in our relationship. And
this improvement was taken place before the 11th September, and since the 11th
of September, with the strong support that we received from the Indian Government,
we have the opportunity to accelerate the pace of change, and we look forward
to seizing that opportunity. And I think it will be in the interest not only
of our two countries, but in the interest of South Asia, as well.
QUESTION: Andrea Mitchell from NBC News. Mr. Secretary, can you share any information
about what has just happened in Jerusalem with the shooting of a cabinet minister
and how this will affect your efforts to try to persuade both sides to resume
a more meaningful dialogue and persuade the Israelis, in particular, not to
SECRETARY POWELL: I just heard about it before the press conference so I dont
know the details, and who has taken credit for the shooting or what the nature
of the incident was and so I really dont have a comment at this time.
QUESTION: Are you going to try to reach out to Mr. Sharon and try to persuade
him that no matter what has happened in this instance that he should not retreat
SECRETARY POWELL: I think I better understand the instance before I suggest
that to Mr. Sharon, but as you know I speak to him on a very regular basis,
if not daily, every other day or so, and I would look forward to doing it in
the next day or so.
QUESTION: And Mr. Foreign Minister, in particular on the subject of the U.S.
Congress now lifting some remaining sanctions and the expressed proposal by
the Administration to follow up by waiving, by taking advantage of the waiver
and granting more economic aid and possibly military aid in the future to Pakistan.
Do you think that this economic aid to Pakistan is potentially destabilizing
the relationship that India has with the United States? Is this too much of
a reward for Pakistan, and is it something that in any way offends India?
FOREIGN MINISTER SINGH: I understand your question. Ive just responded
to a similar question. Indias relationship with the United States of America
is not subject to and is not under the veto of any other relationship. These
are two sovereign countries, and its very good luck to our western neighbors
in Pakistan. It is my hope that they will utilize the economic aid for the right
purpose, but thats again something that Pakistan has to decide. I cant
very well decide for Pakistan or even attempt to advise Pakistan how they should
do it. We have a certain experience about military aid to Pakistan in the past,
and now that we see some evidence of Pakistan moving away from the fixed positions
of the past and joining the rest of the international community, we can only
hope that the same approach will be governed their utilization of any aid or
assistance that they receive from the United States of America or any other
country in the world.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Im afraid we have to conclude here.