(Extensions of Remarks - March 15, 2000)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E316-E318]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                            HON. TOM LANTOS

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                       Wednesday, March 15, 2000

  Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, at a meeting of the Asia Society yesterday, 
our outstanding Secretary of State, Madeleine K. Albright, delivered a 
thoughtful speech in anticipation of the Presidential visit to India 
and Bangladesh, with a brief stop in Pakistan. This visit is the first 
to India by an American president in 22 years and it is the longest 
presidential visit ever. This will also be the first visit by a U.S. 
President to Bangladesh.
  Secretary Albright's speech was a brilliant background analysis of 
United States relations and strategic interests in South Asia. With 
regard to India, she emphasized the good relations our nation has with 
India, and she said that our relations can and should be strengthened. 
At the same time, however, Secretary Albright stressed that nuclear 
proliferation is a critical issue for the United States, and in order 
for our relationship to achieve its rich possibilities India must take 
steps to curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons and missile delivery 
  With regard to the brief visit to Pakistan, Secretary Albright 
emphasized: ``I want to leave no room for doubt. In no way is this 
decision [to stop in Pakistan] to embrace the military coup or 
government led by General Musharraf. And no one should interpret it as 
such.'' She said that the United States has important interests with 
Pakistan, particularly in controlling the spread of nuclear and missile 
technology and in dealing with international terrorism.
  In only one area do I find reason to disagree with our distinguished 
Secretary of State, Mr. Speaker. In discussing Kashmir, she noted that 
her father served as a member of a United Nations mission dealing with 
that troubled territory. She said: ``He [my father] is now dead, and I 
am old, and yet still this tragic story goes on.'' Our Secretary of 
State is not old, Mr. Speaker, she has pursued with great vigor and 
energy her critical role as our nation's chief diplomat. We are 
fortunate to have as our Secretary of State a woman of such distinction 
and such vibrancy.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask that Secretary Albright's address to the Asia 
Society be placed in the Record, and I urge my colleagues to give it 
the thoughtful and careful study that it deserves.

      Remarks to the Asia Society--Washington, D.C., March 14, 2000

                Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright

       SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I am indeed delighted to be here. Thank 
     you very, very much, Ambassador Wisner, and to you as well to 
     Marshall Bouton and the entire Asia Society. It's a great 
     pleasure to be here. Ambassador Lodhi and Ambassador Gautam, 
     it is a pleasure to have you here and other excellencies of 
     the diplomatic corps; colleagues and friends from the worlds 
     of scholarship and public policy, Capitol Hill and the press.
       I have to warn you: This is a long speech. It's a ``wonky'' 
     speech, and it basically--this, I think, is a perfect 
     audience for it, because I think that you all have spent a 
     great deal of time on the subject. I also, as I look around 
     the audience, I see today people who signed an open letter to 
     the President on the trip, and I think that you will find 
     that many of your very thoughtful comments are reflected in 
     the framework that I'm going to put forward here. At least, I 
     hope you do.
       I appreciate the chance to discuss the President's upcoming 
     visit to South Asia. Our trip provides a rich opportunity to 
     promote American interests in an area where a fifth of the 
     world's people live, security risks are high, economic 
     opportunities abound, and there is a potential for wide-
     ranging cooperation on global issues.
       As befits the diversity of the region, our goals are many. 
     In Bangladesh, we will both affirm and advance our friendship 
     with a young democracy that was born in strife, and is 
     surmounting huge obstacles.
       During an extended visit to India, the President will seek 
     to begin a new chapter in our relations with one of the 
     world's leading countries and oldest civilizations. India is 
     projected to pass China in size in the early decades of this 
     century, and I can think of few greater gifts to the future 
     than a strong and cooperative strategic relationship between 
     India and the United States.
       Finally, in Pakistan, the President will make clear our 
     support for an early return to democratic rule, as well as 
     our ongoing friendship for the Pakistani people.
       In these areas and others, we are fortunate to have the 
     support of America's South Asian communities. They are an 
     amazing success story--and a remarkable resource. For the 
     fruits of their hard work, generosity and genius are manifest 
     here and on the subcontinent. And every day they help bind 
     America and the region closer together.
       As the new century begins, our foreign policy priorities 
     include building a healthy and growing world economy, halting 
     the spread of weapons of mass destruction, supporting 
     democracy, and working with other nations to combat 
     international terror, pollution, drug trafficking and 
       We cannot succeed in meeting these priorities without South 
     Asia. The President's trip offers us the opportunity to make 
     progress towards each, and to forge ties that will benefit 
     America for many years to come.
       The first official stop on our schedule will be the first 
     visit ever by an American president to Bangladesh. Although 
     Bangladesh has a short history as an independent nation, it 
     has already taken long strides to emerge from poverty and 
     build an inclusive democracy. In the Muslim world and beyond, 
     Bangladeshi democracy deserves recognition as a source of 
     hope for its people and of inspiration to others.
       We also want to support the constructive role Bangladesh 
     plays in the international community. For example, it is a 
     top contributor of troops to United Nations peacekeeping 
     missions, and it has embarked with energy and distinction on 
     a two-year term on the UN Security Council.
       Bangladesh is also a valued partner on global issues. Last 
     week it became the first South Asian country to ratify the 
     Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. And it is working to 
     stamp out child labor in its garment export industry; 
     preserve its tropical forests, and lift the lives of women 
     and disadvantaged with a remarkable micro-lending program 
     that has been emulated around the world.
       There is also a very practical economic dimension to this 
     visit. As Bangladesh has moved to join the global economy, 
     American investment there has risen thirty-fold in three 
     years. And with the right policies in place, Bangladesh could 
     make a quantum

[[Page E317]]

     leap forward by exploiting its vast energy resources, 
     particularly in natural gas.
       Regional corruption in this area--I'm sorry. Regional 
     cooperation in this area-- Not good. We'll get to corruption. 
     Regional cooperation in this area would benefit Bangladesh 
     and all of South Asia. American companies can be the perfect 
     partners to help seize such opportunities.
       America can be a strong partner for India, as well. And the 
     President's visit to India will be the centerpiece of his 
     trip. In fact, Bill Clinton's five-day visit to five cities 
     will be the most extensive trip to that country ever by an 
     American president.
       At the time of the last such visit, I was about to join the 
     National Security Council in the Carter Administration. And 
     let me state one truth at the outset. Twenty-two years is far 
     too long an interval between presidential trips to India.
       For decades, the enormous potential of Indo-US relations 
     went largely untapped. The main reason was an all-
     encompassing Cold War. As the world became bipolar, India 
     chose its own path of non-alignment.
       The result, in the words of a former Indian Ambassador to 
     Washington, was that Indo-US ties exhibited ``a pattern of 
     misunderstanding, miscalculations, and missed 
       That legacy left a burden of history on both our nations 
     that is only now lifting. Even after the Cold War's end, the 
     United States and India were slow to explore in depth the 
     many areas where our interests increasingly converge. We also 
     failed to lay a fresh foundation for managing our 
       The hesitation was on both sides. In some quarters in 
     India, there was a lingering suspicion of US intentions in 
     world affairs. And on the American side, some could not or 
     would not understand India's compulsions and aspirations.
       Today, however, this mindset of mutual distrust is 
     beginning to change. And, in fact, I believe that both the 
     United States and India are coming to realize that there was 
     always something unnatural and regrettable about the 
     estrangement of our two democracies. Nor is the democratic 
     bond between us merely an ``intangible.'' To the contrary, 
     the values and heritage we share are the bedrock for all our 
     steps forward.
       And we have been a rich source of ideas and inspiration for 
     one another. Mahatma Gandhi studied Thoreau and the New 
     England Transcendentalists--who in turn were deeply indebted 
     to ancient Indian philosophy. Martin Luther King, Jr. then 
     looked to Gandhi's towering example of nonviolence. And the 
     framers of India's Constitution looked to our own in 
     developing their framework for a free society.
       We both understand that true democracy is never achieved; 
     it is always a pursuit. Human rights concerns in India are 
     still being addressed--particularly in the areas of 
     trafficking in women and children, communal violence, and 
     child labor. But for all our imperfections, the United States 
     and India are the world's most visible messengers of the 
     truth that secular, pluralist democracy not only can work, it 
     does work.
       By almost any measure of diversity, India is a world unto 
     itself: seventeen officially recognized languages and 22,000 
     dialects; every major world religion--including one of the 
     largest Muslim populations on earth; an incredible collection 
     of communities, creeds and cultures; and 600 million eligible 
     voters in some 600,000 polling places--exercising the miracle 
     of self-government.
       Considering the vast problems it inherited at independence, 
     Indians have good reason to take pride in their country's 
     survival as a democracy. And India has done more than 
     survive--it has made remarkable progress.
       In half a century, the average life span in India has 
     roughly doubled. In place of famine, a ``Green Revolution'' 
     has brought surplus grain to export. And a social revolution 
     is finally unlocking doors of economic and political 
     opportunity for women and lower castes.
       Huge challenges remain, however. Illiteracy is high. HIV/
     AIDS must be attacked with the same energy that has brought 
     India to the verge of eradicating polio. And millions still 
     cannot obtain clean water, make a telephone call, or afford 
     even a bicycle for transportation.
       But for all that, it is clear that--particularly in recent 
     years--India has been on a rising road toward a better life 
     for its people. It is in this context that next week, the 
     leaders of the world's largest and oldest democracies will 
     meet. And we have a great deal of long-awaited business to 
       One such area of business is business. The Indian economy 
     was one of the great underreported success stories of the 
     1990s. By decade's end, the turn toward the free market that 
     began in 1991 was yielding sustained growth rates of 6.5 
     percent per year.
       And the greatest growth has come in areas that bode well 
     for India's future. In recent years, software exports have 
     jumped 50 percent annually--with no end in sight. American 
     companies from Apple and Texas Instruments to Oracle and 
     Microsoft have come to India for its high ``tech'' and high 
       And while other countries beat a path to India's door, it 
     continues to enrich the globe with talent. Indians make up 30 
     percent of software workers worldwide.
       This should come as no surprise, in light of the 
     subcontinent's history and culture. The Indian civilization 
     gave the world several key building blocks of modern 
     mathematics. And today, India's pool of trained scientists 
     and engineers is second in size only to our own. In terms of 
     purchasing power parity, India already has the world's fourth 
     largest economy. By any yardstick, its middle class is one of 
     the largest on the planet. And its massive economic takeoff 
     is widely projected to continue.
       In January, Treasury Secretary Summers told an Indian 
     audience that a 10 percent annual growth rate is ``well 
     within your grasp.'' At that rate, India's standard of living 
     would quintuple in just 20 years--even accounting for 
     population growth.
       Toward that end, Indian governments have undertaken new 
     economic reforms. Late last year, India took steps to open up 
     its insurance sector to foreign investors. We hope it will 
     follow suit in telecommunications and other new sectors.
       India's economic reforms are a work in progress. The 
     remaining hurdles include growth-choking deficiencies in 
     transportation and infrastructure; remnants of the old 
     license Raj; too much public borrowing; and poorly targeted 
     subsidies. Changing all this will not be easy. But the 
     overall trends are plainly in the right direction.
       This, of course, is good news for India. And as India's 
     largest trade and investment partner, it is also good news 
     for us.
       Our two-way trade and investment in India is projected to 
     grow vastly over the next decade. Whatever its exact 
     magnitude, the economic potential of enhanced Indo-American 
     ties is clearly enormous. And we are determined to realize 
     much more of this potential.
       Strengthening democracy is another goal we share with 
     India. So I am delighted that Minister of External Affairs 
     Jaswant Singh will join me and five other foreign ministers 
     as co-sponsors of the Community of Democracies initiative in 
     Warsaw this June. This is a splendid example of the kind of 
     ambitious and yet practical cooperation that India and the 
     United States are in a unique position to pursue.
       We also look forward to working, at both government and NGO 
     levels, with a very active Indian presence at the 56th 
     Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva.
       And during the upcoming visit, we will launch an Asian 
     Center for Democratic Governance in Delhi. This independent 
     forum will be jointly sponsored by the US National Endowment 
     for Democracy and the Confederation of Indian Industries.
       We are also working with India to expand our cooperation in 
     a broad range of other important areas, including science and 
     technology, social development, and exchanges such as the 
     Fulbright program.
       Clean energy is an area in which we are striving to 
     strengthen our partnership and benefit our shared 
     environment. Unless we act, India will suffer greatly from 
     global climate change, and by acting together, we and India 
     can also contribute greatly to solving this problem. And 
     President Clinton's trip will underscore that in this high-
     tech era, India can both prosper in the global economy and 
     protect the global environment.
       That brings me, at last, to security issues.
       The United States continues to seek universal adherence to 
     the NPT. We believe the South Asian nuclear tests of May 1998 
     were a historic mistake. And UN Security Council Resolution 
     1172 makes it plain that the international community agrees 
     with us.
       We recognize fully: Only the Indian government has the 
     sovereign right to make decisions about what is necessary for 
     the defense of India and its interests. The United States 
     does not regard India's missiles or nuclear weapons as a 
     direct threat to us. But we do regard proliferation--
     anywhere--as our Number One security concern.
       And for this reason, we must accept that significant 
     progress in this area is necessary, before India and the 
     United States can realize fully the vast potential of our 
       Deputy Secretary Talbott and Minister Singh have gone to 
     unprecedented lengths to put our dialogue on these topics on 
     a more productive footing. And the Cold War's end opened up 
     new opportunities to work toward a world in which the risks 
     and roles of nuclear weapons can be reduced, and ultimately 
     eliminated. We and India agree that it would be tragic if 
     actions now being taken led the world not toward seizing 
     these opportunities, but instead toward new risks of nuclear 
       We have not yet found a way to create sufficient common 
     ground on these issues. But I am convinced that our 
     relationship today has the strength and breadth to keep 
     working through our differences and find a way forward.
       So we will continue to discuss how to pursue security 
     requirements without contributing to a costly and 
     destabilizing nuclear and missile arms race. Our goal is to 
     ensure that people everywhere will be freed of such 
     devastating dangers and economic burdens.
       We believe that the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty would 
     advance India's security interests--as, by the way, it would 
     advance our own. And that is why, yesterday, I appeared 
     yesterday with General Shalikashvili to highlight the 
     important role in the Administration's continuing efforts 
     with the US Senate on the CTBT that General Shalikashvili 
     will play.
       We likewise believe that steps to strengthen India's 
     already-effective system of export controls would be in our 
     common interests. So would a global treaty to ban the 
     production of fissile material for weapons--and pending that, 
     a multilateral moratorium.
       India has emphasized that its decisions are not taken with 
     a narrow regional focus, and

[[Page E318]]

     we accept that point. But India's decisions also have 
     consequences beyond South Asia. Here, prudence and clarity in 
     India's plans and doctrines could yield great benefits. For a 
     pattern of steeply rising defense budgets in Asia would serve 
     neither the continent's security interests nor its 
     development needs. Such principles of restraint are 
     consistent with statements India's own leaders have made.
       How India addresses all these issues will, of course, 
     influence the decisions we make. But our goal is a 
     qualitatively different and better relationship with India--
     not a simple return to the status quo before the tests.
       Our ability to attain this goal will depend largely on what 
     India does. And the limits on our ability to cooperate with 
     India are a matter of US law, as well as our international 
     obligations. And our approach to nonproliferation is global. 
     We cannot abandon it simply because we desire an improved 
     relationship. Any other stance would break faith with all the 
     nations--from South Africa to South America to the former 
     Soviet republics--who decisions to strengthen their own 
     security and the cause of nonproliferation by joining the 
     NPT. And it would give cover to states which, unlike India, 
     might threaten us directly.
       We will persist in our efforts to reconcile, to the 
     greatest extent possible, our nonproliferation concerns with 
     India's appreciation of its security requirements. Our 
     dialogue on these subjects will be continued during the 
     President's trip, and beyond.
       One topic we will discuss in both India and Pakistan is the 
     relationship between these two countries. Let me say a word 
     about the President's decision to stop in Pakistan at the end 
     of our trip. And on one key issue, I want to leave no room 
     for doubt. In no way is this a decision to endorse the 
     military coup or government led by General Musharraf. And no 
     one should interpret it as such.
       We are going to Pakistan because the United States has 
     interests there which are important--and urgent. Our 
     interests include avoiding the threat of conflict in South 
     Asia; fostering democracy in Pakistan; fighting terrorism; 
     preventing proliferation; and doing what we can to help 
     create an environment of regional peace and security; and 
     reaching out to a people whose history is one of friendship 
     with the United States.
       The President is not going to Pakistan to mediate the 
     Kashmir dispute. We have made it clear he will not do that 
     unless both sides ask.
       Last 4th of July, the President's ability to engage 
     directly with the Pakistani Government played a key role in 
     defusing a tense conflict in Kargil. For the President to 
     maintain such lines of communication may be very important in 
     any future crisis.
       Some of you know that, when I was a young girl, my father 
     worked as a diplomat at the UN on the problem of Kashmir. He 
     wrote a book whose first chapter contains the simple but 
     eloquent statement, ``The history of Kashmir is a sad 
     story.'' He is now dead, and I am old, and yet still this 
     tragic story goes on.
       But today, the conflict over Kashmir has been fundamentally 
     transformed. For nations must not attempt to change borders 
     or zones of occupation through armed force. And now that they 
     have exploded nuclear devices, India and Pakistan have all 
     the more reason to avoid an armed conflict, and all the more 
     reason to restart a discussion on ways to build confidence 
     and prevent escalation.
       India and Pakistan today must find some way to move 
     forward. The process is not one that the international 
     community can prescribe for them. We only know that it will 
     take courage--but not the courage of soldiers.
       And we can be sure of one more practical reality: Tangible 
     steps must be taken to respect the Line of Control. For so 
     long as this simple principle is violated, the people of 
     Kashmir have no real hope of peace.
       Another vital US interest in Pakistan is countering 
     terrorism. The terrorist camps next door in Afghanistan 
     directly threaten American lives. Because of Pakistan's 
     influence with its neighbor, this matter will be high on the 
     President's agenda.
       General Musharraf has offered to go to Afghanistan himself 
     to discuss concerns about terrorism. We hope to hear more 
     from him about this. And we want to see steps to address the 
     effects of terror on Pakistan's neighbors, notably India.
       Nothing would do more to bolster the entire world's 
     confidence in Pakistan's government than to learn that its 
     people will regain their ability to choose their leaders 
     sooner rather than later. And few things did more to 
     undermine the confidence than the recent order that judges 
     take an oath of loyalty to the military, rather than to the 
       In all these areas and others, we see opportunities not for 
     mere gestures, but for real steps forward. For example, 
     Pakistan's foreign minister has recently argued the 
     advantages, from Pakistan's own standpoint, of early 
     signature of the CTBT. Now, that would be the kind of coup 
     for Pakistan--and I guarantee, the international community 
     would rally around it.
       President Clinton will go to India, and also to Bangladesh 
     and Pakistan, to strengthen America's bonds with a region 
     that is growing in importance with each passing year. And in 
     so doing, he will affirm on an official level what many in 
     this room can testify to in their own lives.
       For the connections between America and South Asia are 
     manifest. They may come in the form of a physician from 
     Mumbai who spends part of her time each year in Los Angeles; 
     or a businessman in Boston who is developing a new technology 
     with a firm in Dhaka; or a teacher from Tennessee who is 
     working with young people in Islamabad.
       In today's world, geography is no longer destiny. America 
     and South Asia are distant, but we are linked in the 
     opportunities we have, the threats we face, and the changes 
     to which we must respond.
       President Clinton's historic visit offers the prospect of a 
     welcome new chapter in our relations with India and her 
     neighbors. But although that chapter may begin with a visit 
     from the White House, it will be written by the people of all 
     our countries.
       For the President's visit, I ask your support next week. 
     For the larger task, I urge your active participation in the 
     months and years to come.
       Thank you all very much for your attention.