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Bush Praises Cooperation With India, Wraps Up Visit


President Bush says the United States and India have never been closer, and their partnership can benefit the world. The comments came in a speech to the Indian people from New Delhi as Mr. Bush wrapped up his visit to India.

President Bush says this is an historic time in the U.S.-India relationship as it evolves from a troubled past.

"India in the 21st century is a natural partner of the United States because we are brothers in the cause of human liberty," he said.

In a speech from an historic old fort in New Delhi, Mr. Bush spoke of decades of Cold War tensions between the world's most powerful democracy, and the world's largest. He said the emerging partnership between the United States and India can be a force for good in the world.

"For many years, the United States and India were kept apart by the rivalries that divided the world," he added. "That has changed. Our two democracies are now united by opportunities that can lift our people and by threats that can bring down all our progress."

The president referred to the civilian nuclear cooperation agreement finished during his stay in India. Under the terms of the deal, the United States will provide nuclear technology and fuel for India's civilian power program. At the same time, India, which has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, will put that program under international safeguards.

"By applying the most advanced technology and international standards to India's civilian program we will increase safety and reduce the risk of proliferation," noted Mr. Bush. "And by helping India meet its energy needs, we will take the pressure off the price of fossil fuels for consumers in India and America."

Mr. Bush also talked about the sensitive issue of outsourcing. He acknowledged that the shift of some jobs from the United States to India has hurt some American workers. But he said there will be no reversal from efforts to increase economic ties and boost U.S-India trade.

"Some people believe the answer to this problem is to wall off our economy from the world through protectionist policies," said Mr. Bush. "I strongly disagree."

Earlier, President Bush visited Hyderabad, a city known as the high-tech center of India, where he toured an agricultural school, and took part in a roundtable discussion with a group of young entrepreneurs.

During his stay in Hyderabad, thousands of Muslim protesters took to the streets.

Some of the demonstrators carried posters of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. Others clashed with police, who responded with tear gas.

Meanwhile, in northern India, violence erupted in the city of Lucknow when dozens of armed Muslims tried to force Hindu shop owners to shut their stores to protest the visit. Local police officials say one person was shot and killed and about a dozen people were injured.

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