US President George W. Bush is beginning his visit to the world’s biggest democracy with high hopes. The US President wants to establish a strategic partnership with Indian premier Manmohan Singh, by finalising a deal to share civilian nuclear technology.
The delicate issue of the status of Kashmir is also on the agenda. Bush’s arrival on the Indian sub-continent triggered massive protests. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets, denouncing him as the enemy of Islam because of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Earlier, the US President had made an unscheduled stop in Afghanistan. The country is caught in the grip of insurgency by fighters loyal to the ousted Taleban. Bush told Afghan President Hamid Karzai he believed democracy was taking hold. The US has around 20,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan, involved in the hunt for former Taleban and Al-Qaeda militants.
Bush told them he was confident the insurgents would be tracked down. As part of the trip, Bush will also visit Pakistan in the next few days.