External Affairs & Defense Minister Jaswant Singh
Secretary of State Colin Powell
October 2, 2001
2:36 P.M. EDT
SEC. POWELL: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
It's been a great pleasure for me to receive my colleague, Mr. Singh, the foreign
minister and minister of defense of India. We have had a good discussion, as
we always do, of items of interest to both of us.
On this occasion I took the opportunity to express condolences of the American
people and my personal condolences over the events that took place in Kashmir
yesterday, that terrible terrorist act, that heinous act that killed innocent
civilians and also struck at a government facility. It is this kind of terrorism
that we are united against.
I also expressed my condolences to my colleague over the loss of Indian citizens
at the World Trade Center, reaffirming once again that it was an attack not
just against the United States, but against the world.
I thanked him also for the support that India and the Indian people have given
to us in this time of difficulty. We're very grateful for that support, and
we're very grateful for the good wishes of the Indian people and the expression
of support that we have received from the prime minister.
So, my colleague, it's again a pleasure to have you here.
MIN. SINGH: Thank you very much.
Really, I cannot improve on what my colleague has just said. As always, it has
been a great pleasure. We've had a very good discussion.
India's commitment to values that we share with the United States of America
to democracy, to free speech, to freedom of individuals, to a certain way of
life, of which terrorism is the very antithesis, and our commitment to stand
shoulder to shoulder with the United States of America for these values, in
this fight against terrorism, is in no fashion any less than anyone else's.
We deeply, deeply grieve at the great tragedy that visited upon the United States
And as a gesture of -- as a gesture of unity with the United States, that therefore,
the prime minister commissioned me to carry two urns, and which I presented
to the mayor of New York, one of nine -- of waters from nine of the most famous
rivers of India, and then soil of India, with a request that whenever a memorial
is built there, these be placed at the memorial as a gift and a contribution
of the people of India, as between two natural allies we continue to fight this
new menace that the world is now confronted by.
SEC. POWELL: Thank you, sir.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, has the administration been working on and come close to unveiling
a new comprehensive plan for peace in the Middle East, including the U.S. unequivocal
endorsement of statehood? Was that plan sidetracked by the events of September
11th? And is that plan, or some new version of it, going to be unveiled soon?
SEC. POWELL: Well, you speak of a plan, but we've had a plan since the administration
came into office in January, and that plan was to do everything we could to
get violence down to the lowest possible levels in the region, and then, once
we had the Mitchell plan completed, to embark upon the Mitchell plan, which
would bring us to a point, through confidence-building and a cease-fire, so
that we begin negotiations again between the Palestinians and the Israelis.
As the president said this morning, there has always been a vision in our thinking,
as well as in previous administrations' thinking, that there would be a Palestinian
state that would exist at the same time that the security of the state of Israel
was also recognized, guaranteed and accepted by all parties.
That vision is alive and well, and we hope that it will come about as a result
of negotiations between the two sides.
So in that regard, there is nothing new, and in fact, as you heard earlier,
it reflects statements also made by Prime Minister Sharon as recently as last
week. We are always reviewing what we can do, how we can make our statements
clearer, and I'm always considering what statements I can make in order to make
sure people understand the American position.
But the events of September 11th don't really play into this. We were hard at
work before the 11th of September on trying to help in the region, and we are
hard at work after the 11th of September. In fact, immediately after the tragedy
of 11 September, I was on the phone the very next day, trying to reenergize
activities, so we can get into the Mitchell plan.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, let me ask you, sir, a question. Do you agree with the Indian
Foreign Affairs minister, Mr. Jaswant Singh, what he said yesterday at the White
House, that this is the same group here or the same kind of people, but running
at different -- in different names in all of the world, including in India?
Now as far as this bombing in India is concerned, some officials in India blame
Pakistan. If you agree with that, and also if you're ready to close down --
or I would say that until you close down all the terrorist centers, training
centers, in Pakistan, we can never have peace in the area.
SEC. POWELL: We are against terrorism. This clearly was an act of terror. And
as the president made it clear in his statements and in his speech the week
before last, we are going to after terrorism in a comprehensive way, not just
in the present instance of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, but terrorism as it
affects nations around the world, to include the kind of terrorism that affects
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, can I follow up on that? When you talk about the initial war
on terrorism and getting Osama bin Laden and his network, do you include freedom
fighters on the Pakistani side of the line of control in Kashmir, many of whom
train in Osama bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan, as those who need to be eliminated?
Will you get tough on the Pakistani government to do something about that? And
is -- or is there a difficulty here because of Pakistan's role?
And Mr. Foreign Minister, as the U.S. is working very closely with Pakistan
right now in the war against terrorism, do you think that President Musharraf
can be trusted as a full partner in the war against terrorism?
SEC. POWELL: We are going after the al Qaeda network in its various manifestations
and Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants who are in Afghanistan, in the first
instance. And as I said previously and the president has said repeatedly, we
are going to be conducting a campaign that goes after terrorism. And we'll use
many tools -- financial tools, intelligence, law enforcement, diplomatic and
political tools -- to accomplish the mission that the president has set before
MIN. SINGH: If the leadership of Pakistan and if Pakistan were to abandon the
path of violence and of terrorism and join the rest of the international community
in its fight against this evil, it would be a development that India would welcome.