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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: La tournée de Bush ravive les tensions

by By D. B.

Bush’s South-Asian Tour Increases Tensions

Translated by John O’Neil

Translated Tuesday 7 March 2006, by John O’Neil

George W. Bush ended his South Asian tour in Pakistan with the hope of strengthening ties with leaders in Kabul, New Delhi and Islamabad. At the same time, the US president faced considerable public hostility to his policies of aggression.

The historic accord with India, most notably with regard to India’s nuclear program, set off massive demonstrations in many Indian cities denouncing the new strategic partnership with Washington, whose primary objective is to balance China’s power in the region and further open up the Indian economy.

If the "war on terror" was a dominating theme in Bush’s discussions with Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Bush’s trip raised more questions than it answered and fueled more rancor in the region rather than easing tensions.

Bush has refused to consider a nuclear deal for Pakistan like the one just reached with India. He hasn’t even advanced negotiations on the future of Kashmir, a long-standing source of conflict between New Delhi and Islamabad.

The US president came to demand that Islamabad engage more resolutely in the war against al Qaeda and the fundamentalist militias who still control the Afghan border areas, heightening the risk of destabilization in the country.

Waziristan, a tribal area in northwest Pakistan, is currently in revolt and the government has little control. Tribal militias and Pakistani forces traded fire Saturday while Bush was in Islamabad. Hundreds of the area’s inhabitants have fled the clashes, which have killed nearly fifty people.

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