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Thursday, 6 April, 2000, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK
Clinton's visit: was it worth it?
President Clinton spent a week in South Asia on what was billed as a landmark tour.
He acknowledged Bangladesh's efforts to tackle poverty, praised India for its democracy and IT potential, and kept open a dialogue with Pakistan's military ruler.
But the growing tensions in the subcontinent - as reflected in Kashmir and in India and Pakistan's nuclear weapons programmes - were really the key concerns of his trip.
How successful was he in tackling these thorny issues? Or is it too early to tell?
Was the visit worth it?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
President Clinton's visit to Asia was not worth it. If he wants to stop the program of nuclear arms with Pakistan and India, he should first stop nuclear arms in America or mind his own business.
Clinton's tough message made it clear that the General has only two options: a) risk a nuclear war which is no guarantee that Pakistan would get Kashmir and the world would let her keep her it. Secondly to risk complete isolation and be declared a terrorist country. Or b) to pass the Kashmir problem onto the next generation and focus on developing Pakistan which is so badly needed. Therefore I think Clinton's vista to South East Asia was successful.
Selena , Hong Kong but Indian
This president is tarred with one brush only and it will follow him into history. Thankfully we live in a country, at present, which is wisely unimpressed with his egocentric foreign policy and self-advertisement.
A PAID vacation!
The visit was good for India.
Mr Clinton's visit will be a remarkable
one in Indian history because
he is the only US president to have visited
India in 22 years. It will help
to establish the relationship
between the countries and
his visit will the reduce the
nuclear tension in south Asia.
I think that the visit by the President to the region was very useful for US, India and Pakistan. For US, it wanted closer ties with India for its booming high tech industry and a strategic alliance to counter the rising influence of China. India gained a lot by the visit as it foresees a tilt towards US to be of mutual interest in economic and political front. Pakistan, at least there was an announcement by its military leader to let local elections go ahead in the near future. Only a democratic government in Pakistan can create stability in the region and also economic progress and stability in Pakistan, which is good for both the countries in South Asia.
Russell Baker, USA
Congratulations to President Clinton on using the twilight days of his presidency to try to find reconciliation. Pakistan and India should remember that they are one and the same people. No sane person wants war and no one righteous desires bloodshed.
Clinton's visit was a great initial step
in strengthening ties between the world's
largest democracy and the world's greatest.
This trip certainly brought much needed
attention to South Asia (frequently a low priority
in US foreign policy). It also highlighted the
regional territorial disputes and the real
risk of a conventional armed conflict
escalating to a nuclear exchange. Which
could occur as Pakistan moves towards
autocracy and loses the economic battle
against its neighbour.
It is too early to say whether Mr. Clinton's visit to South Asia was successful. However, a visit to India was long overdue by a US President. India has been a Democratic Institution for the last 52 years. Yet the US Presidents have failed to visit India for 22 years, while visiting totalitarian, oppressor country like China, so often. Maybe a real democracy does not count so much to the US, which always champions the cause.
Bakht Baidar, France
At first sight, Clinton seemed to have a good
vacation in India. Since a lot of hidden
agendas might have been discussed with
our PM, most of it not disclosed. The full
consequence is yet to be seen. Delhi allowed
FBI to open its branch in India. Is this
a sign of such agenda?
Overall the trip is a huge economic and political blessing to India and the US and a warning to Pakistan and hence I term it a success.
Clinton's visit was a success as he was able to better the ties with India and Bangladesh. As far as Kashmir is concerned it is an internal problem between India and Pakistan and Clinton does not have any role to play in it. Regarding the Nuclear weapons programme Clinton cannot advise other countries to stop nuclear programmes when his own country itself has a huge stockpile of nuclear weapons.
Clinton's trip was masterful! He set U.S. priorities in South Asia in line with U.S. interests in the region for this century. His trip to India will hopefully set the stage for strong ties in high-tech, bio-tech, and the old economy industries perhaps leading to a true strategic alliance between the two countries. He gave proper due to Bangladesh's efforts to develop the economy and improve the lives of its people through a moderate democracy. His visit to Pakistan highlighted that country's problems and stark choices: conflict with India leading to ruin or peace leading to democracy and eventual stability.
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