- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 15, 2009

‘EPICENTER’ OF TERROR

The spread of terrorism and nuclear weapons in South Asia poses a “grave risk” to both India and the United States, while the U.S.-India nuclear power deal gives both countries a new forum to work for peace, Indian Ambassador Meera Shankartold a forum of foreign-policy experts this week.

“India’s neighborhood is the epicenter of global terrorism,” she said in a speech to the World Affairs Council in San Diego on Monday. “Behind their different names, the terrorist groups have seamless links, shared ideologies and a common target in free and open societies.”

Mrs. Shankar added that India shares the same goals as the United States in providing stability in Afghanistan and transforming Pakistan from “a safe haven for extremism and terrorism into a stable, democratic, moderate and peaceful state.”

In November, Pakistan-based terrorists killed 173 people and wounded 308 in India’s main financial city of Mumbai.

“The arc of proliferation around India irrevocably altered our collective security,” she said, referring to Pakistan’s development of nuclear weapons to counter India’s nuclear missile arsenal.

“The intersection of proliferation and terrorism in India’s neighborhood presents a grave risk to all of us. India and the U.S. have shared more deeply than many other countries the goals of nonproliferation and a nuclear-weapons-free world. The civil nuclear agreement has now created a platform for us to cooperate more on advancing our goals of nonproliferation.”

The agreement reached under the Bush administration will allow India to purchase civilian nuclear energy technology from the United States in exchange for international inspections of its nuclear power plants.

President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, through their sustained commitment and leadership, took the [U.S.-India] relationship to a new level,” Mrs. Shankar said.

“Nothing symbolizes the transformation of the relationship more than the India-U.S. civil nuclear agreement,” she added. “But this agreement is a strong on symbolism as it is on substance.”

The deal will “provide the foundation for a wider and deeper engagement” between the two countries, she predicted.

Mrs. Shankar also noted that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton “will establish the framework of our engagement and priorities in the coming years” when she visits India this week.

Mrs. Clinton, who leaves Thursday evening, told an audience in Washington this week that her trip will be the beginning of a “strategic dialogue” with Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna.

GOOD-WILL AMBASSADORS

Ninety-five Arab scholars from 16 countries will become good-will ambassadors to the United States when they take up posts as teaching assistants at U.S. colleges later this year, U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Margaret Scobey told a group of Fulbright scholars in Cairo on Tuesday.

She reminded them that they will make lifetime friendships with many Americans and help promote a better understanding of the Middle East.

“It is a simple concept, but we know it works,” she added. “Everyone in this room knows that if we can dispel misconceptions of who we all are as people, we can foster mutual respect, mutual understanding and together accomplish much more.”

The scholars are graduates of the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program, organized by the Institute of International Education and the Fulbright Commission in Egypt.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison @washingtontimes.com.

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