Overcome differences, do not polarise them: Powell

WASHINGTON SEPT. 6. Brushing aside the call for a multipolar world, the Secretary of State, Colin Powell, has argued that the challenge of nations was to work to overcome differences, and not to "polarise" them.

"Some authorities suggest that we move now to a multipolar world. But there need be no poles among nations that share basic values. We have no desire to create such poles either. Indeed we must work to overcome differences, not to polarise them", Gen. Powell told an audience at the George Washington University here.

"We work hard to have best relations with nations large and small, old and new, but it is important that we concentrate on those major powers, especially on those with which we have had different and difficult relations over the years", the Secretary of State maintained. "Our relationship, for example, with Russia and China and India fall into this category. But just look at where we are now", he said.

In his references to India, Gen. Powell said democracy in the country dated from Independence and with the recent economic reform setting institutional roots, the country was developing into a mature economy.

"As the Indians themselves are the first to admit, however, their country still faces many challenges: illiteracy, poverty and many others that hamper their progress", he said.

"We want to work with India. We want to help India overcome its challenges; and we want to help ourselves with a closer association with one of the world's richest and ancient cultures. We have therefore worked very hard to deepen our relationship with India", the Secretary of State argued.

At the same time, Gen. Powell said the development of relationship with India had been done by the Bush administration in a manner that also helped Washington improve its relations with Pakistan.

"The two largest democracies on Earth are no longer estranged as they had been for many years. At the same time, we have done this in a way that also allowed us to improve our relationship with Pakistan, a country with domestic challenges of its own", he said.

"Aside from their domestic challenges, India and Pakistan live with the legacy of their dispute over Kashmir. About 15 months ago... we were fearful of a major war breaking out in the subcontinent, possibly a nuclear war — a distinct possibility. So, once again, with our partners we came together, and working with India and Pakistan, we defused that crisis. And now we can see the situation improving as they reach out to one another, and we look forward to helping them in every way that we can", he said.

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