THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY
NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR SANDY BERGER,
DEPUTY NATIONAL ECONOMIC ADVISOR LAEL BRAINARD,
AND ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR SOUTH ASIAN AFFAIRS
The James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
3:25 P.M. EST
MR. HAMMER: Good afternoon. Today we have the President'sNational Security Advisor, Samuel R. Berger; and Deputy National EconomicAdvisor Lael Brainard; and the Assistant Secretary of State for South AsianAffairs Rick Inderfurth are here to brief you on the President's upcomingtrip to South Asia.
MR. BERGER: Good afternoon. Let me talk for a few minutesabout why we're going and what we're going to do. The President, as youknow, will leave Saturday for a weeklong journey to South Asia. He willtravel to Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, and be the first President tovisit South Asia in 22 years.
It's a region that faces enormous challenges, as we all know, butalso is beginning to realize its extraordinary promise. There may be noplace in the world where so many issues of importance to our future cometogether so dramatically -- from conflict resolution to the informationrevolution, from political reform to nuclear restraint, from theenvironment to the gap between rich and poor. What happens in South Asiawill have a strong impact on the security and prosperity of the Americanpeople for many years.
Most of South Asians, of course, over a billion live in India,one of the fastest growing economies and most vibrant democracies in theworld. It's appropriate that the world's oldest democracy, the UnitedStates, and its largest democracy, India, place their relationship on asounder footing.
For 50 years, America's relationship with India has been viewedthrough the prism of the Cold War and its aftermath. President Clinton hasbeen determined to get this partnership on track, for the benefit ofAmericans and Indians alike. We want to deepen ties between ourgovernments, our private sectors, our scientists, our citizens.
As we pursue renewed partnership, we must also address importantdifferences with India and, of course, with Pakistan. The President willdiscuss these issues directly with Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee, andGeneral Musharraf in Pakistan.
Nuclear tests by Indian and Pakistan in 1998 shook the world,creating intensified concern about nuclear proliferation and nuclearconflict. India and Pakistan have committed not to test further, but theyhave not yet joined the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Each has legitimatesecurity concerns, but our view is that a nuclear future is a dangerousfuture -- for them and for the world.
At a time when the United States and Russia have moved towardprogressively deeper cuts in our nuclear arsenals, at a time when manyother countries around the world have given up their nuclear programs,South Asia should not be headed in the opposite direction. Narrowing ourdifferences on nonproliferation is important to realizing the fullpotential of our relationship.
The President will make plain our conviction that India andPakistan cannot be secure unless they engage in dialogue to resolvetensions between them. India and Pakistan took a promising step when theirleaders met at Lahore last year. But that goodwill evaporated during lastsummer's fighting in the Kargil region of Kashmir.
President Clinton's supportive role in defusing the Kargil crisislast July helped build trust with the United States. But the ultimateobligation for addressing the conflict rests with India and Pakistan. ThePresident is not going to South Asia to mediate the dispute between them.But he will urge them to exercise restraint and resume dialogue. Twonations who offer so much to the world should not condemn their children toa dangerous future. They should choose instead the path toward peace.
Finally, of course, the President is going to Pakistan, travelingthere in the wake of a military coup that overthrew thedemocratically-elected Prime Minister. To be clear, this is not anendorsement of the military government in Pakistan. Rather, it is asensible decision on the part of the President to keep America's lines ofcommunication open with Pakistan, to urge the steps we believe areimportant to peace and to stability in the region, an early return todemocracy, respect for the line of control in Kashmir, a crackdown onterrorist groups and restraint on nuclear and missile programs.
Now, let me rather briefly take you through the trip schedule dayby day. The President will arrive in New Delhi on Sunday evening. Mondaymorning, he will travel to Bangladesh -- the first U.S. President ever tovisit Bangladesh.
Since that Muslim nation of 120 million achieved independence in1971, in defiance of some predictions, it has made impressive strides incombatting poverty and building an inclusive democracy. Women, includingPrime Minister Hasina, head the two major and intentionally rivalrousparties. Bangladesh stands with us in fighting terrorism and weapons ofmass destruction. Last week, it ratified the Comprehensive Test BanTreaty.
He'll meet with the Prime Minister in Dhaka and highlight newinitiatives on energy cooperation and tropical forest conservation. Thenthe President will go to a nearby village with Mohammad Yunus, knownworldwide as the banker to the poor. Mr. Yunus and his Grameen Bank havebeen pioneers of microcredit. I first heard his name from then-GovernorClinton perhaps 20 years ago.
They will meet with small entrepreneurs who have risen frompoverty through microcredit loans from the Grameen Bank. The Presidentwill visit a school, get a glimpse of the efforts of Bangladesh with U.S.support, to keep children in school as an alternative to child labor.He'll attend an official dinner in Bangladesh and then will return toDelhi.
Tuesday, he'll meet with Prime Minister Vajpayee. I expect theywill address the larger political issues that concern us -- instability andconflict in South Asia, how to manage it; nuclear weapons; and key economicand global issues such as economic cooperation between the two countries,challenges like AIDS and the environment, India's role in Asia, and thefuture of the U.S.-Indian relationship.
I expect that the two leaders will sign a vision statementoutlining the goals and principles that should guide our relationship goingforward. The President will then lay a wreath at the memorial to MahatmaGandhi and attend a state dinner.
Wednesday, the President will address the Indian Parliament. Hewill talk about our common aims as well as our differences. He will thenmeet with the opposition leader, Sonia Gandhi. And then Ambassador DickCeleste will host a reception including prominent Indians and IndianAmericans, and Fulbright alumni celebrating the 50th anniversary of theFulbright educational exchange program in India. And I believe Mrs.Fulbright will join us for that.
Then later on Wednesday we will go to Agra. He'll see, and we'llsee, the Taj Mahal. To preserve the area, the authorities there havecreated a zero-air-pollution zone. Only electric power vehicles arepermitted to move people around. Industrial emissions have been reducedsubstantially. India is an energy-poor country, and how and where itdevelops new energy sources will be critical to its ability to combatenvironmental dangers and grow in an environmentally sound manner. InAgra, the U.S. and India will sign an agreement to increase cooperation onthe environment, and the President will announce a package of initiativesto promote clean energy and combat climate change.
Thursday, the President will visit Jaipur, a center oftraditional culture with historic palaces, also the capital of themodernizing state of Rajasthan. In a nearby village, he'll meet withmembers of the local governing council and discuss how village democracyfunctions in India. These traditional bodies were expanded afterindependence to include women and former untouchables. The President willalso visit a park where Indians are working to preserve their endangeredtiger population, an effort for which the United States has providedassistance.
Friday morning we will be in Hyderabad, nicknamed "Cyberbad," oneof the two key cities in India's burgeoning Silicon Valley, or perhapsSilicon Valley is America's burgeoning Cyberbad. This is a good place forthe President to focus on science and technology and the explosion that istaking place in India. He'll be accompanied there by the State's ChiefMinister Naidu, who is deploying information technology not only foreconomic growth in that region, but also to make government work better forcitizens.
The President will visit a clinic to participate in immunizingchildren against disease, in particular polio, a disease that India hasalmost eradicated.
That day, March 24th, is World Tuberculosis Awareness Day.Experts estimate that more than 2 million people in India develop active TBeach year. But India now is fighting back and they've pioneered aggressivenew treatments which are being used worldwide, including in the UnitedStates. And he'll observe an application of one of those treatments to aclinic patient.
India has more cases of AIDS than any other country in the world.About 4 million Indians are HIV positive, and the spread of AIDS hasaggravated the TB epidemic. The President will discuss with health care workers there what we and India are doing and can do togetherwith research and national leadership to combat TB and HIV-AIDS andmalaria. He will then visit the high-tech City Office Complex to get acloser look at India's thriving information technology center.
Ten years ago, this sector did $150 million in business. Lastyear, it did $3.9 billion. Meanwhile, people of Indian origin run morethan 750 technology companies in California's Silicon Valley alone. ThePresident will talk about these links and how the United States and Indiacan take our technology and our economic partnership to the next level.
The President then will travel to Mumbai, the city formerly knowas Bombay; India's Wall Street, its economic capital, the fifth-largestcity in the world. He'll have a chance to sit down with representatives ofthe next generation, some young people, some younger Indians, to discussthe future and how they see the evolution of India. And he'll end the daywith a reception with business leaders.
On Saturday, we will travel to Pakistan. The President will meetwith Pakistan's Chief Executive -- excuse me, first he'll meet withPakistan's President Tarar, and then he'll meet with the Chief ExecutiveGeneral Musharraf. After those meetings, the President will deliver atelevised address directly to the people of Pakistan, our longtime friends,about our hopes for Pakistan and our concerns about its future. We willthen depart for home.
And now I'll ask Lael Brainard, Deputy Director of the NEC, toaddress some of the economic issues.
MS. BRAINARD: Thanks, Sandy. I just want to speak very brieflyand expand upon the economic agenda that Sandy touched on. This is animportant region with really enormous development challenges; as Sandysuggested, enormous promise, but still an area of stark economic contrasts.There is progress as both economies, both Bangladesh and India, have beenundertaking reform and opening to trade and investment; but it's slow andthe challenges are quite remarkable.
This trip is an opportunity for us to deepen our economicengagement with both economies, and there are several opportunities thatthe President will take to do so. Let me just elaborate a little bit.
In the case of Bangladesh, it is really one of the poorest, mostdensely-populated countries in the world. It has a population of 127million living in an area the size of Wisconsin. And there is a povertyrate there that remains at 45 percent, despite significant progress.
Growth has averaged 5 percent over the past few years; fertilityrates have dropped and a variety of social indicators have improved. Andin particular, there's been a real deepening of the trade relationship withthe United States, with their exports to us jumping by nearly two-thirdsover the past 5 years. There's also large potential for natural gasdevelopment.
In terms of the stops that the President mentioned, the Presidentwill visit a world village at which we will be able to announce someinitiatives in two areas that are particularly innovative in ourdevelopment agenda and which have been very high priorities over the lastfew years. As you may know, the President has placed a high priority onreducing child labor, not through reducing opportunities, but rather bygiving children educational opportunities at the same time families aregiven alternative income generating opportunities. And we have done thatthrough the Department of Labor and also through the ILO, through theinternational program to eliminate child labor.
We're going to go to a site in Bangladesh where that program willbe in operation, and it's really a remarkable story of cooperation betweenthe government of Bangladesh and the United States, which over time hasremoved over 10,000 children from garment jobs and other such employment.
As Sandy also mentioned, we will be meeting with Dr. MohammadYunus, who is really the grandfather of microenterprise, which was startedin Bangladesh and really is one of the development initiatives that hasbeen brought into the developed world and used widely in our inner cities.It's a development initiative that has taken capital and placed it in thehands of the poorest, and enterprise has flourished.
In India, there is in full view a stark contrast between thetraditional economy and really the most modern segments of the economy.India's pool of trained scientists and engineers is second only to our own.Yet the same system that has produced this large pool of scientificallytrained graduates coexists with a system which half of the women do nothave literacy skills. So you'll see real contrasts here.
The President will be visiting both extremes of modern India,visiting a village in an agricultural rural area where 25 percent of thepopulation is still working in the agricultural area; and then also goingto, as Sandy suggested, the Silicon Valley equivalent, Hyderabad, which istransforming the way of life for millions of Indians.
It's worth noting just in terms of the contrast in this economythat their largest export is textiles and apparel, which is verytraditional for a developing economy, at 25 percent, but the second-largestexport is engineering goods, which is very, very unusual. The PrimeMinister has set a goal of making the country and information technologysuperpower and a leading exporter of software within the next 10 years, andit looks very likely that those goals are achievable.
In terms of the broader economic picture for India, it has greatpotential. It's been growing relatively quickly over the last few years, 7to 8 percent. There was a first generation of economic reforms in theearly 1990s that took some of the controls out of the economy. Now it istime, as the Prime Minister has said, for a second wave of reforms. Thisreform agenda that Prime Minister Vajpayee has articulated is extremelyambitious. It includes things like liberalizing trade and investment, taxreform, reductions in the civil service ranks, reform of labor laws -- awhole variety of things that we think will be quite difficult, but wellworth achieving.
There is an important crossroads right now in the Indian economythat really is represented by these two extremes, and given thegovernment's interest in reform and commitment to reform, it's an importantopportunity for us to engage with the Indians. We are hoping to be able todeepen and institutionalize our economic engagement across a whole host ofareas -- financial markets, macroeconomics, commercial and trade -- and thePresident will be discussing all of those issues with the Prime Minister.Thank you.
Q Sandy, when the President said in the statement today thathe won't accept the nuclear status quo in India and Pakistan, what does hemean by that? And he says -- well, specifically, what does he mean? Andwhat does it take to narrow the differences that would establish a betterrelationship?
MR. BERGER: Well, obviously, only India and Pakistan, ultimatelysovereign nations, can decide on their security. But our view is they arenot more secure with nuclear weapons than they would be without them. Andour ultimate goal would be to persuade them to give up their nuclearprograms.
Now, in the meantime, we've been engaged with them in a dialogueover the last -- more than a year, particularly a dialogue conducted byDeputy Secretary Talbott, Secretary Inderfurth, and their Indian andPakistani counterparts, in which we've urged them to do several things thatcould decrease the level of tensions. One, join the Comprehensive Test BanTreaty. They have both announced and both committed to no further tests,but we would like to see them in the Comprehensive Test Ban regime.
Second, we've encouraged them to exercise restraint in theirnuclear programs. The Indians, for example, have articulated a doctrine oflimited nuclear deterrence, and we have urged them to implement a policythat does limit the expansion of these programs.
Third, we have encouraged both of them to stop the production offissile material, which is the fuel, in a sense, for nuclear weapons, andto join with us in seeking to negotiate a fissile material cutoff treaty.Those negotiations are ongoing. They have participated in thosenegotiations.
And finally, we've encouraged them to put in place serious exportcontrols on the goods and equipment and material related to their nuclearprogram, so that they're not proliferating. And in that area there hasbeen some progress, particularly with the Indians.
So I would say this dialogue has been useful. There's been somesteps, limited progress. But we will urge them to take further steps.
Q There are reports that bin Laden is gravely ill. Do youknow anything about it?
MR. BERGER: Well, again, I'm not going to -- you know I won'tcomment on intelligence reports. Mr. bin Laden is someone who has been ofinterest to us for some time, we believe has been responsible for terroristattacks against the United States. And we would like to see him brought tojustice.
Q Would his demise be good news for the United States?
MR. BERGER: Well, we would like to see him brought to justice.
Q Do you know anything about those reports, or are you just --
MR. BERGER: I'm just not going to comment on intelligencereports.
Q Mr. President, I represent a newspaper in Pakistan -- andyou just said that the visit of President Clinton is not tantamount to anendorsement of the military government of General Musharraf, and this is astatement made by so many officials recently. In the first week ofFebruary, President Clinton accepted credentials from an ambassadornominated by General Musharraf. So can you enlighten us on the obviousdifference between recognizing the government of General Musharraf andembracing it?
MR. BERGER: We recognize a lot of governments that we havestrong disagreements with, so it is not an equivalent. In diplomacy, youhave diplomatic relations and deal with countries whose practices andpolicies you may disagree with. It has been our belief that while wedisapprove of the way in which democracy was overturned in Pakistan andwould seek an early return to democracy, as well as other steps from thePakistani government, that it is better for the United States and betterfor the region for us to maintain a line of communication with thegovernment of Pakistan during particularly difficult times. And I don'tthink that maintaining a line of communication is the same thing asendorsing it.
Q That's not the way they see it.
MR. BERGER: Well, you know, there's a very interesting editorialin one of the Indian newspapers -- I don't know whether it was yours ornot.
Q I'm from Pakistan. That's already a problem, telling thedifference. (Laughter.)
MR. BERGER: Oh, excuse me. I'm sorry. You asked the questionin a way I thought had an Indian spin. There was an interesting editorialin an Indian newspaper which said that really -- think about this -- theIndians really shouldn't be too concerned about the President going there,for all the reasons I said, and the fact that the President of the UnitedStates and all of his people are saying clearly, we do not endorse thisgovernment, actually is exactly what the Indians would like to see. So Idon't think that -- again, that stopping there, having a discussion withthe General, speaking directly in a television address to the people ofPakistan; I believe that is in the interest of the United States --
Q Is there a quid pro quo on him going to Pakistan -- if hehad a public forum? There were reports.
MR. BERGER: No. The President made his decision, and we saidthat we would like to go to the President's house. The President is anelected President in Pakistan, a holdover from the previous government. Wewould like to do our events from there, our meetings there. And we'd liketo address the people of Pakistan directly and live on television. Andthey agreed to that.
Q On the TV address in Pakistan, first of all, do you haveguarantees that this will be widely available without impediment throughoutPakistan? And secondly, could you talk about what message the Presidentwill send in that TV address?
MR. BERGER: I have no reason to believe it will not be. Ibelieve that this will be live, and I have no reason to believe it wouldnot be widely available. No information that I have received to thecontrary, has suggested to the contrary.
I think the President will speak to the Pakistani people. Hewill talk about the long relationship that the United States has had withthe people of Pakistan, our high regard for the people of Pakistan, but ourconcerns about things that are happening in Pakistan, because we'reconcerned about Pakistan's future. We're concerned about its nuclearprogram. We're concerned about tension across the line of control inKashmir. We're concerned about terrorism. We're concerned about seeing apath back to democracy. And I think the President will talk about all ofthose things to the people of Pakistan and with great respect.
Q Sandy, when was the last time the President made a liveaddress to a foreign country, to the people of that country?
MR. BERGER: Well, there was -- well, I don't know how to answerthat question, Chuck. I'd have to do a little research and get back.Obviously, the President has talked in press conferences. But an address,I think Russia maybe, but I'm not sure of that. I'm not sure exactly ifthe format was exactly the same.
Q Sandy, can the U.S. really get India to back away from thenuclear option and sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty when the UnitedStates's own Senate refused to ratify it?
MR. BERGER: Well, I would have preferred the United StatesSenate to have ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. But I thinkthat the President has made clear that we intend to adhere to the Test BanTreaty. We've signed the Test Ban Treaty, which the Indians have not done.They have announced, as have the Pakistanis, that they would abide by atesting moratorium. We hope they will continue to live up to that. Itobviously would be far preferable for it to be reflected in adherence tothe CTBT. I certainly don't expect that to happen before we go or whilewe're there, but I would hope that after we go, there can be a discussionconsensus that evolves in India and in Pakistan that the people of Indiaand Pakistan are not safer by virtue of being engaged in a nuclear armsrace.
Q Sandy, why isn't the President going to try to mediate theKashmir dispute?
MR. BERGER: You can only mediate a dispute if both parties wantto have that done. And the Indians have made very clear that that is notthe way they prefer to see this issue dealt with. And we're certainly notgoing to interpose ourselves in a situation where one of the parties doesnot believe that's the right course of action.
What the President will do, I believe, is to, number one, urgeeach party to exercise restraint, urge that steps be taken, for example, inPakistan, a number of steps that have happened since Lahore that havecontributed to tension in Kargil and elsewhere that create a betterenvironment and can then enable the dialogue between India and Pakistan tocontinue. Ultimately, that has to be the mechanism by which this issue isdealt with.
Q Is it fair to say that the most recent tensions that havegone on in Kashmir are the fault of the Pakistani side, given theirinvasion into the area that you're talking about last year?
MR. BERGER: I'm sorry, John, please repeat that.
Q Is it fair to say that the most recent -- I'm not talkingabout historic -- but the most recent tensions in Kashmir really can belaid on the side of the Pakistanis, because they were the ones to go intothis disputed area last summer?
MR. BERGER: I think that it's always difficult to get back tofirst causes. But clearly, Kargil was something I think the Pakistanisbore responsibility for, and we were pleased when Prime Minister Sharifagreed to withdraw forces from that area. There is tension across the lineof control on a repeated basis, and I think both sides need to exerciserestraint and hopefully, the conditions can be created, ultimately, inwhich a dialogue can resume, as was started in Lahore.
Q Will the President try to help Sharif?
MR. BERGER: I'm sure the President will raise the case of PrimeMinister -- former Prime Minister Sharif -- and will urge that, should hebe convicted, that he not be executed. There are other cases that we wantto raise with other instances -- we want to raise with Musharraf. There'sa case, for example, involving an American, Donald Hutchins, that we'vebeen very active in over the last five years. You may have seen his wife,Jane Shelley, has been quite a strong activist to try to get information onwhat happened to her husband -- is he alive, and is there information thatmay bear on whether he's alive or where he is, and we will -- we've talkedto the Pakistanis on many occasions about this, and I believe this willcome up while we're there.
Q In calling for nuclear restraint and dialogue, how will theadministration address the very real security concerns that those countrieshave?
MR. BERGER: I think both countries have to ultimately determinewhat is in their security interest. I would argue that an escalatingnuclear arms race diverts resources badly needed in both countries, causesthe danger of conflict, and is a drag on their recognition, fully,realizing their full potential in the international community. So for allthree reasons, I think that this is not a path that holds out the promiseof more security; I believe it is a path that holds out the promise of lesssecurity. That's a judgment they will have to come to, obviously, and wewill make that argument to them as we have over the last two years.
Q Is there anything that the administration can or will holdout as an offer to encourage them to restrain?
MR. BERGER: Well, I think these are decisions that the twogovernments are going to make or the two peoples are going to make basedupon their own perception of their own self-interest. I don't thinkthere's a carrot here that you can talk about. There are sanctions,obviously, that remain in effect under the Glenn Act, in the case of India;and with Pakistan, there's a cluster of legislation -- Symington and otherlegislation -- relating to things that we cannot do with India andPakistan, particularly in the military sphere, some in the internationalfinancial institutions.
We've waived some sanctions over the last year where we havebelieved there has been some progress, as I've talked about, in the nucleardialogue, or where we believe that projects or areas are in our mutualinterest. And I expect there will be some additional areas on the trip --for example, in the environmental area or the energy area -- wherecooperation is inhibited. But as long as they have not met these stepsthat we've outlined, we can't realize the full potential of ourrelationship.
Q Sandy, in the past you've tried to get both sides, theIndians and the Pakistanis, not to proceed toward weaponization. Have youhad any success in that? Stated the other way, how hair-trigger are bothsides?
MR. BERGER: Well, neither side has deployed nuclear weapons, andI think that's an important step not taken. There are obviously furthersteps that could be taken that would de-escalate the level of tension andput these weapons farther out of reach, so to speak, which we would like tosee.
Q Sandy, as the administration prepares to make a gesturetoward Iran tomorrow, can you give us a little background on why this is agood time to be doing that, and what you think the circumstances -- whatmakes it important?
MR. BERGER: Well, I think Secretary Albright will have more tosay about this tomorrow. Let me simply say that the recent election, onceagain, reflects a strong desire of most of the Iranian people for -- astrong commitment to democracy and a strong desire for a greater degree offreedom, certainly, over their lives. We think this is a positivedevelopment.
Now, there continues still to be serious problems that we havewith Iran's activities, and particularly support of terrorism and itsobstructionism in the Middle East peace process, for example. But Ithink it's appropriate for us to try to encourage the process of reform.And I'll leave the rest to Secretary --
Q By making a gesture?
MR. BERGER: Well, by whatever Secretary Albright --
Q Is the President going to see Assad in Geneva?
MR. BERGER: We've been working very hard, as you know, Helen, toget both the Palestinian track and the Syrian track of Middle Eastnegotiations back on track -- very strange metaphor, if you think about it.And we were very pleased last week that as a result of several meetingsbetween Prime Minister Barak, Chairman Arafat, with some help from thePresident and Dennis Ross, Secretary Albright, the Palestinians and theIsraelis agreed to resume final status negotiations. And their teams willbe in the United States next week.
The next challenge is get the Syrian track moving again. ThePresident has been working on that very, very hard. He's spoken toPresident Assad; he's spoken to Prime Minister Barak. Secretary Albrighthas spoken to her colleagues. And that's our hope. I'm not going topredict exactly how at this point that may unfold and where that path maytake, but our strong determination is to get those negotiations resumed.
Q One of the -- earlier this week said that one of the reasonsthe U.S. has difficulty convincing the Indians to follow our advice onnuclear policy is that we really don't have very many ties with India. Hepointed out two-way trade is only about $12 billion a year. He said onegood step, first step, would be to get a free trade agreement between thetwo countries. Obviously, that's fairly ambitious when we currently haveeconomic sanctions, but where do you see the economic relationship going,say, in five years or 10 years as a result of this trip?
MR. BERGER: Let me ask Lael to answer that.
MS. BRAINARD: As I was suggesting earlier, there is tremendouspotential both for India to take its economic future in a direction ofgreater openness, greater market forces, liberalization and greater growth.They are moving into the high-tech sector at a pace that is reallyunequaled in any other developing country. And we have the potential toengage with them in a way that will be beneficial to them as well as to us.
It's worth noting that foreign direct investment in India is manytimes lower than that in China. Their export growth is much lower thanthat of China. They have a long way to go in terms of reaping the fullbenefits of economic integration with the rest of the world. And we,obviously, could play an important part of that through the kinds ofeconomic dialogues that we are discussing with them right now.
We have common interests in the trading system. We have commoninterests in areas such as services trade, high-technology trade, and evensome areas of agricultural trade. And so we do want to deepen discussionwith them, deepen engagement with them, to move forward on areas that arewin-win.
Q Sandy, could you and Rick address the problem of, or thequestion of why relations, either one of you, have been poor even with thefall of the Berlin Wall? I mean, we had the tilt to Pakistan, that wasalmost 30 years ago, Nixon's tilt. Communism is dead in most of the world.Yes, recently we've had the nuclear tensions and sanctions because of that.But still, in the '90s there was not an improvement, and why is that? Isit just the activity on the left is there, and they'll always hate anallegedly imperialist United States? What's been the problem?
MR. INDERFURTH: Well, I think the Cold War is the definingmoment in terms of being able to get our relationship on track. We haddifferences them that were clear. Also on the economic side, it wasn'tuntil the early 1990s that India started to reform its economy and movingit toward a more free-market structure than it had in the past. So thesetwo very large impediments were removed, and I think that during this term,the President made a decision very early on that he wanted to pursue apolicy of greater engagement.
This trip should have taken place two years ago, almost threeyears ago, in 1997. But India is now in a period of coalition government.At the time of the 50th anniversary, when the President was going to go,the government fell. Shortly after that there were nuclear tests. Then westarted thinking again about going, the government fell. So it has been acombination of domestic politics and world events that has delayed this.It's long overdue, and I think that the Indians are very appreciative ofthe fact that we're coming, and that we're coming in a serious fashion, asevidenced by the kind of dialogue that we've had between Strobe Talbott andJaswant Singh.
MR. BERGER: First of all, there's no causal relationship betweenthe President planning to go to India and what has happened to the Indiangovernment. I just wanted to add one thing to Rick's very good answer, andthat is, the President has been talking about and focusing on South Asia inhis first days here, and I think wanted to go there even in the first term.And as Rick has pointed out, a kind of a convergence of a few instances inwhich the government fell, we couldn't go, the tests, have deferred that.
So in many ways, I think the question is absolutely to the heartof it -- at the end of the Cold War, there was a great new opportunity. Wehave, I think, built on it somewhat during this period through the effortsof Rick and others. Secretary Summers was there recently; SecretaryDaley's been there, and others. But I think that what this trip isfundamentally about, I think, in the most important dimension, is to try toestablish a new partnership with India; that to not see India as a functionof China or a function of the Soviet Union, but to see India as the world'slargest, perhaps most vibrant, certainly most promising -- one of the mostpromising democracies. We are natural allies, Prime Minister Vajpayeesaid, not too long ago. And I think that's a view we share, and have atremendous opportunity to reshape, I think, over time the nature of ourrelationship to reflect their importance.
Q What does India need to do to have the sanctions lifted,Sandy?
MR. BERGER: Well, I pointed out the four areas. Some of thesanctions have been lifted, as they've made some progress. Some of thesanctions have been lifted as we've identified areas where we have a mutualinterest in, for example, environmental cooperation, so it doesn't make alot of sense to keep sanctions in that area.
But to get at the heart of the sanctions or the sanctions thatrelate to anything that has any military application. The sanctions thatrelate to some other areas. We would like to see progress in the fourareas I've talked about -- adherence to CTBT, strong export controls,agreement to negotiate with others, a fissile material cutoff, andrestraint in its nuclear program.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 4:13 P.M. EST
Press Background Briefing by Senior Administration Official
Press Briefing by Ian Bowles
Press Briefing by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
Press Briefing by National Security Advisor Sandy Berger
Press Briefing by USAID Administrator Brady Anderson
Joint Press Briefing
Press Briefing on the President's Trip to India, Bangladesh And Pakistan
Background Briefing on the President's Visit to Pakistan
President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore
Record of Progress | The Briefing Room
Gateway to Government | Contacting the White House | White House for Kids
White House History | White House Tours | Help
T H E W H I T E H O U S E