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Bush visit comparable to Nixon's to Beijing: Newsweek

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New York, Feb 22 (UNI) Newsweek has compared the upcoming visit of US President George W Bush to India with that of Richard M. Nixon to China in the early 1970s.

President Bush, who will be the fifth American president to visit New Delhi, is expected to focus on the proposed nuclear energy agreement, a deal which was initiated during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Washington.

''The (Bush) administration is pursuing an objective, which, if successful, could bear some similarities to Nixon's opening to China in 1973,'' the magazine said in its issue, which is currently available on newsstands.

''If successful, it could well alter the strategic landscape, bringing India firmly and irrevocably onto the world stage as a major player.'' The World View column, written by Newsweek International Editor Mumbai-born Fareed Zakaria, was titled ''Nixon to China, Bush to India.'' But the commentary, appearing in the Feb. 27 issue of the New York-based magazine, cautioned that if the administration's policy has to succeed, strategists on both sides must prevail over ideologues.

Zakaria, who spoke to Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, praised the administration for its farsightedness on the issue.

''With China rising and Europe and Japan declining, it (the Bush administration) sees India as a natural partner,'' Zakaria wrote.

''Most important, it recognized that India was a rising and responsible global power.'' He pointed out that India's nuclear programme has grown in total isolation. Now it would get integrated with the world, gaining access to materials, technology, know-how and markets. It was not an accident that French President Jacques Chirac visited New Delhi before the Bush visit.

The column also pointed out that the deal was endorsed by head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei.

A formal agreement on the issue of civilian nuclear energy cooperation during the President Bush's visit, scheduled for early next month, to India is likely, Zakaria predicted.

''We're 90 per cent of the way there. We've got just 10 percent to go . I am confident that we'll come to an agreement,'' Zakaria quoted Mr Burns as telling him.

Recalling the Nixon visit to Beijing, he wrote. ''It might be worth remembering all the costs that the U S and China had to deal with in 1973. For the U S, there was the sellout of Taiwan and the reversal of decades of American policy.'' ''On the Chinese side, there was the abandonment of the basic ideology and strategic posture of the communist revolution. And yet, both sides saw the benefits and moved forward. And look at how it changed the world.'' UNI XC-YA DS1300

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