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Thursday, 6 April, 2000, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK
Clinton's visit: was it worth it?
How successful was Clinton's visit to the Indian subcontinent?
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.


Your reaction

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.
Fazal Daulatzai, United Kingdom

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.
Agha Ata, USA



I don't think Americans or President Clinton are happy about the outcome

Selena , Hong Kong but Indian
I don't think Americans or President Clinton are happy about the outcome, it was: 'America give; India take' - all give and no take. Clinton went away with the message that India was going to stand tough on nuclear power but his comments reflected happiness, but I guess he would do that, for encouragement to India on nuclear bombs.
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.
Hugh LS MacCamley Langer, Brunei Darussalam

A PAID vacation!
Vimal, USA



It showcased India as a dynamic emerging economy with whom the US can do business.

Neal, USA/India
President Clinton's visit was definitely worth it for India. It brought the two democracies together and resulted in $4 billion in deals signed. It showcased India as a dynamic emerging economy with whom the US can do business. It also underscored an isolated Pakistan, with a basket-case economy, ruled by a dictator and his Military Junta.
Neal, USA/India

The visit was good for India.
Dave, USA

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.
Karunakaran Narayanan, India

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.
Jayant Kumar, USA



Aside from the hype and hoopla - it was a failure from the American point of view.

Russell Baker, USA
Aside from the hype and hoopla - it was a failure from the American point of view. India gained much from it. It is now gaining respectability, not isolation for its nuclear testing. On the Kashmir issue India was able to soften Clinton too.
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.
David Norsa, Australia

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.
SSamtani M.D., USA

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.
Dipta K. Bandyopadhyay, USA



He opened the era of better relationships with India

Bakht Baidar, France
Clinton's visit can be described as partially successful. He opened the era of better relationships with India and persuaded the people of that region to struggle for peace instead of going into arms race. It must be appreciated that he tried at least to bring the parties close to negotiations.
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?
Chandramouli B N, India

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.
Dnyanada Bandodkar, India-USA

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.
Gandhi V, India



All President Clinton did was to go and increase trade with the region and acknowledge its existence.

Monty, USA
The problem between Pakistan and India is complex. There is too much unemployment and illiteracy. All President Clinton did was to go and increase trade with the region and acknowledge its existence. Giving preaching lessons to India and Pakistan about not to have nuclear programs when your backyard is full of nuclear booms doesn't make sense and having any success in this area was not going to work anyway.
Monty, USA

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.
Vivek Hatti, USA

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Clinton in South Asia
Click here for a guide to President Clinton's tour
Key stories:
What did the trip achieve?
Protecting the president
South Asia's nuclear race
Clinton and the Kashmir question
Economic ties:
Americans eye South Asia
India's high-tech hopes
Features:
Village gets makeover
Story in pictures
Talking Point

 Kashmir: Should Clinton mediate?

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