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President Bush's Trip to India

Location: Washington, DC

PRESIDENT BUSH'S TRIP TO INDIA -- (House of Representatives - March 08, 2006)

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pallone) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, after President Bush made his first ever visit to India last week, I want to lend my personal support to the ever-improving relationship between the world's two largest democracies. His 3-day visit was another great step towards our two Nations' strategic partnership. The United States and India have made extraordinary progress over the last several years, and the path that lies ahead is critical to our improving relationship.

Besides the U.S.-Indian civil nuclear cooperation deal, President Bush and Prime Minister Singh spoke about a number of important initiatives that would enhance cooperation in defense, counterterrorism, agriculture, energy and promotion of democracy. Based on their shared values of diversity, democracy, and prosperity, the growing partnership between the United States and India has created profound opportunities that are central to the future success of the international community.

I appreciated that the President put some emphasis on the Kashmir conflict. He called for a solution agreeable to all parties and emphasized the need for ``tangible progress'' on the issue. The deep-seated hostility between India and Pakistan, of course, long predated the U.S. war on terrorism, but the conflict in Kashmir cannot be separated from it. Bush used his trip to urge the leadership of India and Pakistan to continue down the road to peace.

Madam Speaker, last year India and Pakistan agreed to use confidence-building measures aimed at promoting trade and normal relations, and have begun to narrow their differences on the issue of Kashmir. I am encouraged by this recent effort to improve the security situation in Kashmir. I am also hopeful that cooperation between India and Pakistan can continue so we can finally sustain peace in Kashmir.

Madam Speaker, there is also a growing agricultural cooperation between America and India shown by the India Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture formulated last July. Fittingly, the President visited with farmers and agricultural scientists in the state of Andhra Pradesh, where some of the best modern cultivation methods and new farming technology are being implemented.

As a Member from the Garden State of New Jersey, I believe it is important that we continue to help developing countries like India emulate technologies already adapted by the United States to increase farm production. We must support programs like those at Cook College, the Rutgers University agricultural school in my district, that are committed to providing agricultural solutions through education and research. Through their involvement in various international initiatives to promote modern research and development, Cook College and others are vital to global food production.

Madam Speaker, energy cooperation is another strong aspect of the growing relationship between our two Nations. Just like the U.S., India is facing spikes in oil and gas energy prices, and they are searching for ways to fuel their rapidly growing economy. As developing economies continue to expand and existing industrial economies use more and more energy, global demand is leading to serious price increases. That is why we must work together to develop alternative sources of energy for homes, businesses and cars. We must find ways to promote the development of stable and efficient energy markets in India to ensure adequate and affordable supplies.

I hope that over time, the U.S. and India can work together to find ways to lessen both Nations' dependence on foreign oil. It is critical that we reduce the world's dependence on oil from unstable nations that pose security threats to us and our allies.

Last July, President Bush and the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, agreed that the U.S. would share nuclear technology for India's civilian energy use. Since then, chief delegates from both governments have been tirelessly negotiating the details of India's separation of nuclear power into civilian and military sectors along with establishing international oversight for India's civilian programs.

At the conclusion of his trip, President Bush announced the details of an agreement that both parties have signed on to, and now all that remains is congressional approval, which I urge my colleagues to support when it comes under consideration.

However, the President's trip to India last week should not be viewed merely as a way to complete the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement. Indeed, the President used his time accordingly to discuss all the issues of importance to the growing U.S.-India relationship, including peace throughout the region and cooperation on global issues like agriculture and energy.

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