THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY SENIOR DIRECTOR, NEAR EAST AND SOUTH ASIAN AFFAIRS AND NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL, BRUCE RIEDEL AND ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR SOUTH ASIAN AFFAIRS, RICK INDERFURTH The James S. Brady Briefing Room
3:50 P.M. EDT
MR. CROWLEY: Good afternoon. We are very pleased to have Prime Minister Vajpayee of India with us today, visiting with the President. He also had a meeting with the Vice President this afternoon. And here to give you a read out of the day's activities are two of our regional experts.
Bruce Riedel will start off, he's Senior Director of the NSC for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs. And he'll be followed by Rick Inderfurth, who is the Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs. We'll start with Bruce.
MR. RIEDEL: Thank you, PJ. As those of you who traveled with the President to South Asia in March know, the President has wanted to make this year the year of really fundamental change in the relationship between the United States and India. He has been seeking to broaden, deepen and diversify this relationship; really to change the terms of reference, the whole paradigm of the relationship.
And today was another step in that process of moving this relationship to a higher plateau and to increasing the relationship between the world's oldest democracy and the world's largest democracy.
As the President said in his opening remarks, which some of you I'm sure saw, to the press, for too long there has been too little contact and too much suspicion between the United States and India. And we are trying to move that to a long-term relationship built upon mutual respect and dealing with all of the issues that confront our two countries.
It is unprecedented in the history of this relationship that we would have two summit meetings in less than six months, but I think it is a reflection of the determination of the President and the Prime Minister to change this relationship and to make it much stronger and long lasting.
The President met with the Prime Minister first for about a half hour after the arrival ceremony, in a restricted meeting with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, his National Security Advisor, Mr. Mishra; and, on the American side, the President, with the Secretary of State, Mr. Berger, and Mr. Sperling.
They then had another meeting of about 40 minutes with an expanded group, including many members of the Cabinets on both sides. The Prime Minister then left the White House and went over to the Department of State, where he was hosted at a lunch given by Vice President Gore.
At the conclusion of that lunch, the Prime Minister and the Vice President had a separate small meeting of, again, about a half an hour.
I would say the highlights of the meeting between the President and the Prime Minister was, they agreed from the beginning on the need to continue to accelerate the upward path in this relationship. They reviewed the progress that we have made since March.
As you will recall, in March the President and the Prime Minister signed a vision statement for the future of U.S.-Indian relations, and they laid out a program of work for intense meetings between officials at all levels in their governments. Those meetings have happened. For example, Secretary Albright has met three times with her counterpart since March.
They discussed the need to continue to find ways to put more depth into this relationship, and Rick, in a few minutes, is going to go through some of the particulars.
Let me just cover a few of the other issues. Naturally, the issue of nonproliferation and arms control was raised. The Prime Minister reaffirmed India's commitment to a moratorium on nuclear testing, a commitment to a moratorium that he said would stay in place until the comprehensive test ban treaty came into effect.
The President reaffirmed our desire to see India continue to move towards accepting international norms on nonproliferation, including CTBT, and joining in the fissile material cutoff negotiations, hopefully leading to an agreement there.
They reviewed various global issues, including what is going on in Russia, China. They discussed high oil prices, the impact that has on both developed and developing countries. India and the United States have been among the two most leading countries in urging action to bring down oil prices.
They reviewed the situation in South Asia. The Prime Minister, in particular, wanted to raise with the President the situation in Afghanistan, India's concerns about the nature of the Taliban government and its connection with international terrorist organizations -- concerns, which of course we fully share and agree with.
The two leaders agreed to set up a framework for talks between our two countries to deal with our common concerns about Afghanistan. They also discussed the tensions between India and Pakistan. The President reiterated the views that he laid out in March about the need for respect by both sides for the line of control, a renunciation of violence, use of restraint in responding to violence, and finding a way when conditions are appropriate to renew the dialogue between India and Pakistan.
In the larger meeting there was a great deal of discussion about economic issues, and again here I think I'll let Rick go through those in detail. They also discussed the need for energy cooperation, for working together against all kinds of international problems, from global warming to the AIDS epidemic.
Let me just close by saying a word or two about the meeting between the Vice President and the Prime Minister. The Vice President wanted to make clear to the Prime Minister that he fully supports the efforts of broadening and strengthening the relationship between the United States and India, and he pledged that if he is elected, he will continue along the same path of trying to build a stronger and deeper relationship between our two countries for the 21st century.
With that, why don't I let Rick go through the particulars.
MR. INDERFURTH: Bruce has said that I will give you more depth about the particulars here. Let me mention one other thing that the President said in the larger meeting in the Cabinet Room that I found particularly important, because what this summit has been about is adding to the foundation laid with the President's visit to India in March, the very highly successful visit, and building on that.
It's very clear that because of these two meetings happening so quickly that there is a seriousness by both governments and countries to do all that we can, as quickly as we can, to capture and build on the momentum.
The President said that -- in his comments to the Prime Minister, he said, I want to leave this relationship in the best possible shape for my successor so that he can pick up the ball and run with it. And I think that that's the spirit in which we have been working so that this relationship is, indeed, in its best possible shape and that it will be carried through into the next administration and beyond.
Now, Bruce has spelled out for you what was discussed. Let me now talk about what has been accomplished with this visit by the Prime Minister. And I apologize in advance for giving you, perhaps, a little more detail than you had bargained for, but there have been a number of things taking place which you may not be aware of and I'd like to mention those as quickly as I can.
First of all, we are finalizing a joint statement which we will have available for you later this afternoon. For those that are familiar with the trip by the President in March, we had a vision statement. We don't need to recreate that vision, it will be reaffirmed in this joint statement. And we'll also talk about the progress and the things that we have done since March, in terms of the institutional dialogue which sets out how we will pursue this relationship across the board.
The joint statement will also give highlights of the areas of cooperation that we are pursuing.
Now, in addition to the Prime Minister's schedule and his meetings with the President, over the last three days there have been a number of other important events and meetings taking place. A commercial dialogue has been launched by Finance Minister Sinha and Commerce Secretary Mineta. U.S. and Indian business representatives, as well as government representatives participated in that. There has been a further session of Mr. Sinha with Treasury Secretary Summers, of the Indian-U.S. financial and economic forum.
There has also been a meeting of the Indo-U.S. business dialogue on clean energy. Gene Sperling presided over a round-table discussion on HIV-AIDS. I should tell you that that subject was discussed at length at the session, the larger session with the President and the Prime Minister. And Gene Sperling, as I said, presided over a round-table yesterday with industry, focused on HIV-AIDS awareness in the workplace.
I should also mention that USAID has committed an additional $3 million for HIV funding in this fiscal year to work with the Indian government in addressing this problem.
There has also been meetings, as a part of the Prime Minister's visit, on science and technology. U.S. and Indian scientists have gathered at NIH this week for a high-level round-table on science and technology cooperation. That very much relates to the science and technology forum which was announced when the President was in New Delhi in March.
Now, on agreements signed, there have been several commercial projects, three contracts for American companies to undertake power projects were signed at the Thursday meeting of the U.S-India Commercial Dialogue.
The Department of Energy has signed an agreement with the India Power Ministry, resuming bilateral consultations on energy. USAID has signed several agreements, a total of five, including some on microfinance programs. The Export-Import Bank has signed three agreements, including an MOU dealing with financing for small and medium-sized enterprises.
In addition to these agreements signed, we've also seen progress being made on a number of issues, including biotechnology, civil aviation, trade and finance, including textiles, double taxation, and an issue not on the economic and commercial side, but a mutual legal assistance treaty. We're making progress and hope to see that come to a conclusion soon.
Now, in addition to these parts of the visit, I do want to stress, as the President did in his statement at the arrival this morning, that we are focusing on people-to-people elements of our relationship; the Indian-American community that serves as a bridge between our two societies.
The President mentioned that there will be the Gandhi Memorial tomorrow, and he will participate in that. We also have, in the joint statement, you will see a reference to the Global Institute of Science and Technology. Now, this is a private initiative, but its business leaders of Indian origin have raised over a half-billion dollars towards establishment of world-class research universities in India. And these institutes will cooperate with U.S. universities. So that is one example of the kind of people-to-people initiative that we want to see more of.
Now, in terms of next steps. Clearly, this administration's time in office is beginning to come to a conclusion, but even with the remaining time between now and next January, we do expect to see possibly some additional Cabinet-level visits. We have, I think, two Supreme Court Justices that will be traveling to India.
We will have a meeting of the counter-terrorism working group, the next meeting scheduled for the end of September in New Delhi. Ambassador Michael Sheehan will lead that delegation. At the end of September there will also be a visit to New Delhi of Admiral Dennis Blair, who is Commander of the Pacific Command.
We will also have, and I mentioned earlier science and technology, the first official meeting of the Science and Technology Forum, which was announced with the President's visit, is likely to take place in November. There is a possible exchange between our Department of Transportation and the Indian Ministry of Transportation, with officials discussing surface transportation possibly at a conference in October.
And, finally, the FCC Chairman is traveling to New Delhi at the end of September for discussions on telecommunications.
So, again, I apologize for perhaps a little more detail than you might have wanted to have, but the point is that this trip was not only about building a new relationship and continuing what we have done with the President's visit in March, but it is also filled with the substance of a bilateral relationship which is expanding, which is broad based and we think has great potential for the future and one that we believe will be built on with the next administration.
Q Can you clear one misunderstanding? It appears the President yesterday used the word -- Kashmir is a core issue with India and Pakistan. And that, if I understand right, has created a lot of misunderstanding -- and some Indian sources -- a slip, a kind of -- to the old. Not exactly a -- but something approaching that. Is it finally out of the way? And, secondly, was there any discussion on India's desire for a permanent Security Council seat, and not the usual excuse that the region-- others can decide, because no other country, except China, which can compare in population and size and potential. So was this discussed at all?
MR. RIEDEL: For the benefit of those who are not steeped in South Asian press corps lingo, "core issue" is, I believe, a phrase frequently used by Pakistani leaders in discussing Kashmir.
Let me be clear. The President's use of that terminology in no way indicated any change in the U.S. position. The United States' position was clearly laid out by the President when he was in New Delhi, when he was in Islamabad, and he reaffirmed that position today to the Prime Minister.
We believe that the solution to the problem of Kashmir is best advanced through the points I laid out earlier: restraint on both sides, respect for the line of control, denunciation of violence, and at the appropriate time when the atmosphere is correct, a return to a dialogue between India and Pakistan.
We do regard Kashmir as an important issue between the two, one of the central issues that obviously needs to be resolved. But I think to read into the President's use of the word "core" any tilt whatsoever would be a mistake.
On the second issue, there was a brief discussion of the need for Security Council expansion, and on that, our position has been, and continues to be, that India would obviously be a candidate, a strong candidate for Security Council membership. But it was not a subject of a great deal of discussion today.
MR. RIEDEL: Can I add one thing to that? In terms of the United Nations, one thing that was discussed at some length was our mutual interest to see U.N. peacekeeping strengthened. While Security Council expansion clearly has some time to go before there is a resolution of that, U.N. peacekeeping is an immediate concern. There was discussion of Sierra Leone. The Indian government has been very concerned about that operation.
India has made a very important contribution of U.N. peacekeepers to the operation. Secretary Albright raised the Brahimi Report, which was issued recently, a detailed report of a number of experts on how to strengthen the mechanism of U.N. peacekeeping. And I think that as a result of discussions today, that we will be seeing greater cooperation between the United States and India on peacekeeping, including on what we can respectively do to enhance that very important mechanism.
Q Did India show any more willingness to sign, or any willingness to sign the comprehensive test ban treaty? And, also, how significant is its commitment to forego any future testing until that treaty comes into play?
MR. INDERFURTH: I think what Bruce mentioned, in terms of what the President had said on that subject -- I'm told that we now have a finalized joint statement, which will be down in about 15 minutes.
You will see in the joint statement, I think that that will speak in many ways for itself -- on the issue of nonproliferation, there is no question that we are continuing this dialogue that has been conducted by Deputy Secretary Talbott and External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh for over two years. We have differences in this area, but we have differences in which we are now trying to address them in the manner in which the President spelled out in his arrival statement, with respect and trying to see if we can find some common ground.
We are making some progress in this area. And, as the President said, the Indians have reaffirmed that they will continue their voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive tests until the comprehensive test ban treaty comes into effect, subject to its supreme national interests, which is a clause that is contained in the CTBT.
We also have in a statement that the government of India will continue efforts to develop a broad political consensus on the issue of the treaty, with the purpose of bringing these discussions to a successful conclusion.
I might add that the U.S. reaffirmed its intention to work for ratification of the treaty at the earliest possible date. We, too, have had difficulty developing a, if you will, national consensus on this issue. And I think this statement will spell out in detail where both governments are on that.
We also talk about our joint desire to see fissile material, cut off treaty and negotiations begin in Geneva. We also talk about, and the two leaders commended the progress made so far, on export controls and pledged to continue to strengthen them. So I think it's a very full statement on this, but I think it's a significant one. And it's one that will continue as part of our dialogue with the Indian government.
Q Rick, is there anything new? Did you learn anything new as a result of this visit on the CTBT/proliferation issue?
MR. INDERFURTH: Well, I think this will be the first time we have spelled out in a statement with the Indian government its intention to continue its voluntary moratorium on nuclear tests until CTBT comes into effect.
This is a new element. They have reaffirmed it. They have said it in other ways in the past. I think that that is what you could point to as a new addition. There are other elements of this, including what is stated, that India also reaffirmed its commitment not to block entry and to force the treaty -- that was stated by Prime Minister Vajpayee at the United Nations two years ago.
But I think what you have here is a clear indication by the Indian government that it is continuing to work to build a national consensus with the hope that it will lead to a successful conclusion of this issue. And we continue to wish the Indian government every great success in doing so.
Q On that issue, it's my understanding, though, that the Indian government had indicated to the United States that they would initiate a debate in parliament during the recent monsoon session, and that they did not do so. Can you respond to that?
And my second question, when the President was in South Asia he said that there were elements of the Pakistani military who are involved in supporting Islamic extremist groups. And I'm wondering if you've seen a diminution of that support and whether or not you can add anything, respond to the Indian charges that Pakistan was responsible for the collapse of the recent talks with the Hezbollah Mujaheddin in Kashmir.
MR. INDERFURTH: I'll continue on the CTBT, and then ask Bruce to take the other one, if that would be all right with you.
We had hoped, and the Indian government had told us that they hoped to bring CTBT to the parliament for debate during the monsoon session, which ended, I guess, about a week ago Friday. In fact, I think Prime Minister Vajpayee had said that publicly, and we recognize that that is an important and, indeed, an essential ingredient of India's being able to bring about a national consensus.
There would be no vote in the Lok Sabha, their lower house, but a debate is something that is part of their building a national consensus.
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, including the tragic death of the Power Minister, that meant that in the final days there was an adjournment of parliament to pay respect to him, that that debate did not take place. We hope when the winter session begins in November, that it would be possible to bring the CTBT to the parliament for debate, and that in the meantime, additional efforts will be made to build a national consensus.
This will be important to allow us to make concrete progress with the Indians' own nonproliferation, so that, as many U.S. officials have made clear, that our relationship can reach its full potential.
There is a lot that we can do, as I have spelled out in the material that I've provided; but there's a lot more we can do if we continue to make progress in this area. So we're hopeful that in the winter session, that there will be that debate. But in the meantime, what you will see in this joint statement is a very firm statement by the Indian government of where it is on nuclear testing and where it intends to be, which is, they do not intend to test any further.
MR. RIEDEL: Let me just add one other thing about the CTBT. The Vice President, in his meeting with the Prime Minister, reaffirmed to him what he has said to the American people, which is that it is his determination that one of the very first things he will do if elected to President, is to submit the CTBT again to the Senate, and that he is a strong supporter of that treaty.
Let me turn to the question of Pakistan and Kashmir. We have been concerned about connections between some elements in Pakistan, and what goes on in Kashmir. We do believe that Pakistan has a role to play, both in resolving the Kashmir problem and in helping to defuse tensions there.
We have been urging the government of Pakistan for some time. The President did it both in private and in public when he was there, to take steps to try to reduce the level of violence. We have seen some encouraging steps in the months since March -- the release of prisoners by India, the cease-fire that you referred to and India's response to it; some reduction in activity along the line of control. It is not enough. We need to see more. We need to see both parties take steps to try to bring about a reduction in the level of violence.
The President, in his meeting with the Prime Minister, reaffirmed our fundamental view, which is, there is no military solution to this problem, and it must be resolved through a process of dialogue, both between India and elements in Kashmir. And ultimately we hope in a renewal of the dialogue that the Prime Minister so bravely pushed forward in his trip to Lahore two years ago.
Q I'm sorry, I was asking, though, have you seen any diminution in support for the Islamic militants in Kashmir by the elements in Pakistan? And do you see any substance to Indian charges that it was Pakistan who basically put the kibosh on a cease-fire in the talks between India and Hezbollah Mujaheddin?
MR. INDERFURTH: We've not seen, unfortunately, sufficient diminution in the level of violence in Kashmir. As I said, we've seen some steps, but certainly not sufficient diminution.
On the second question, I think the fate of the cease-fire by the HM is a complex subject. What I think is most useful to point out there is what the President said to the Prime Minister. The President noted that he has had now almost eight years of experience in dealing with a great number of very difficult political problems, like Kashmir -- Northern Ireland, the Balkans, the Middle East, others. And the lesson he has learned from that is that you have to expect that the road to a better future will be a bumpy one and that it requires a great deal of patience and perseverance in order to get there.
And he praised the Prime Minister for his efforts since he came to power at Lahore, his restraint over Cargil, his restraint over the hijacking last year; his efforts to try to find ways to advance a political process here.
Q Two questions. In the list that you offered of the economic exchanges back and forth, do they conflict in any way with any remaining sanctions that are in place with India? Was there any discussion of sanctions? Can you tell us sort of where those stand right now?
And, secondly, in your mention, Mr. Riedel, of the Vice President's comments and the President's comments on CTBT, was there any indication from either side that the Senate's refusal to pass that so far has given an incentive to India also to slow down? Did the Indians say at any point, we can't do it until you do? Did the Vice President or the President comment on that --
MR. RIEDEL: No, nothing in the joint statement and in the agreements that have been signed or that are contemplated conflict with those sanctions that remain in effect after India's nuclear tests. The Glenn amendment did go into effect after the nuclear tests in May of 1998. The President has waived a number of these sanctions, under the authority provided him by Congress since that time. In practical terms, the remaining sanctions relate less to economic activity than to military or dual use activities.
There remains a prohibition on direct military sales or financing. There remain prohibitions on licenses for munitions list exports. There is a continuing restriction on U.S. support for non basic human needs lending by international financial institutions. But with those exceptions, the steps taken by the President under the authority granted by Congress, have allowed resumption of OPEC investment insurance, Ex-Im Bank, U.S. commercial bank lending to the Indian government, USDA agricultural credit guarantees.
Prior to his visit to India, the President waived sanctions on a number of economic and environmental programs. So the basic point here is that with few exceptions, our economic relations are moving forward, but there are continuing restraints in these other areas, and that's why we are hoping for more progress in our discussions with the Indian government on nonproliferation. And that's why we have said that until we are able to make more progress, we will not have the full potential of our relationship realized.
But this is something that the Indian government recognizes, it was not dwelt upon in the meetings, but they certainly have expressed, as they did today, a desire to see all inhibitions removed in the relationship so we can move forward.
We agree with that. We want to have that same full dimension to the relationship that the Indian government wants, and we'll keep working toward that objective.
Q That means CTBT before they would --
MR. INDERFURTH: What I've just mentioned are those things that remain in effect as a result of their nuclear tests. Clearly, if they sign CTBT, we would be able to take additional steps to remove restrictions.
Q I'm sorry, could I get an answer to --
MR. RIEDEL: -- the same question very simply. Both the President and the Vice President indicated their regret at the vote in the Senate against the comprehensive test ban treaty. Nobody on the Indian side, in any way, suggested that that was a reason for India not to sign the treaty. And the President and the Vice President both reaffirmed our view that the reason why India should sign the comprehensive test ban treaty is not as a favor to the United States and not to get sanctions lifted, but because a comprehensive test ban treaty, endorsed by the entire world, is in the national interest of India as well as other countries in the world.
Q A little more broad, perhaps, question. Does the U.S. see India replacing Pakistan as its principal ally in South Asia?
MR. INDERFURTH: A decision was taken by the President to try to build a new relationship with India, one that moved away from what has been described as estranged democracies. And I think that he has gone very far in changing estranged democracies to engaged democracies.
At the same time, as his visit to Pakistan indicated when he was in the region in March, we are not involved in a zero-sum game here. Moving ahead in our relationship with India where we have many opportunities today is not designed or intended to suggest that we do not want to continue our longstanding relationship and friendship with Pakistan and to work with Pakistan during this time when, clearly, Pakistan is facing a number of significant problems.
So we are moving ahead with both countries on their own merits. We believe that the hyphenated relationship of always referring to these two countries together is no longer appropriate. It's a post-Cold War era, we can have relations move forward with one, and we hope to have our relations with Pakistan move forward. But one is not a choice, one over the other, and we believe quite frankly that as we work with Pakistan as, hopefully, it addresses its problems with its economy and, of course, the military takeover in October of last year, is that it addresses all of these things and the threat of terrorism there in Pakistan; that Pakistan can grow, it can strengthen, it can become a stable, democratic, prosperous country, which we believe would also be in India's interest.
MR. RIEDEL: I just want to add one thing, because I think it's a very important question, and I would direct you to something the President said in the pool spray. He said, if you look at the way the world is going, it is inconceivable to me that we can build the kind of world we want over the next 10 to 20 years, unless there is a very strong partnership between the United States and India. And I think that sums it up very nicely.
On every issue that matters to Americans and their foreign policy in the 21st century, from global peace to global warming, from the AIDS epidemic to eradicating poverty to information technology, India is an important player, and will be an increasingly important player, and that's what this is all about, and that's why the President has held two summits in six months with the Indian Prime Minister.
MR. CROWLEY: We'll take two more questions in the back, and then here.
Q Bruce, every time the President talks about issues on the subcontinent, he's full of lavish praise for India's plurality, its diversity, multi-religious, multi-ethnic society. If we look at -- narrowed this down to Kashmir and look at the case on Kashmir, Pakistan claims Kashmir, because it's a Muslim majority state, the Indians are saying that it's an example, it's a microcosm of our society, because it's multi-ethnic and multi-religious -- it's got Buddhists, it's got Hindus and Muslims. So is it possible that the administration is beginning to look at Kashmir not as a territory of dispute, but as how a modern nation-state should be in the 21st century?
MR. INDERFURTH: He said Bruce. (Laughter.)
MR. RIEDEL: That's a profound question, which is difficult to answer in a quick way. I think you've described a lot of the complexities of the Kashmir problem. In the end, it is not up to America to resolve this issue, and we have said repeatedly, and we reaffirmed it today, that we are not a mediator, we do not intend to put American-planned or an American negotiator out there.
We do think that there are some principles that make sense. One of those, which we've always said also, is that the wishes of the Kashmiri people have to be accommodated in this process, as well. India is an extraordinary example of the success of diversity in building stronger unity out of many different kinds of cultures and religions, and both the President and the Vice President reaffirmed their respect for that today.
Q Bruce, will you give us a read out on Berger's meeting with the Palestinian --
MR. RIEDEL: I would love to, except that I was with the Prime Minister and the Vice President when Sandy and Nabil were meeting, so I can't do it.
Q Could you give us some idea of the discussion, how the discussion ranged on China? Was this simply China's internal affairs, domestic affairs? Did the Prime Minister bring up any concern about reports that China had been helping Pakistan with its missile program? Is the administration concerned about the possible effect on the proliferation scene on the subcontinent of an eventual deployment of NMD, and a possible increase of its weapons and nuclear programs by China? Did that come into the equation at all?
MR. RIEDEL: First of all, let me say that our relationship with India is not a zero sum game with our relationship with China. We believe that both of these countries are countries that we have to have strong ties of engagement with. The discussion about China, there was not a particular reference to reports about Chinese-Pakistani cooperation in the meetings today.
I know that's something that the Indians have expressed concern about before. I would say the conversation was more along the nature of where did each of them think, from their own perspective, and their own dialogue with Chinese leaders, China is heading in the 21st century. And of course we are concerned about the impact of arms races and what NMD could be misinterpreted to mean by some. As you know, the President has said that those factors will be very much on his mind as he makes decisions about this.
There is one thing that you haven't asked about, which I would like just to cover briefly, which is the atmospherics of this, which I should have done at the beginning.
These were very serious conversations. Despite what you all know of his -- the Prime Minister's problems with his knees, he was extremely focused. He was very much engaged with the President and the Vice President, and I think there were not only serious discussions here, but the warmth that has developed between the two leaders was again on display.
They noted the humor of watching the press corps come in and out of the Oval Office, for example, and had a very good, warm and bonding conversation and look forward to seeing each other tomorrow at the Gandhi Monument and then on Sunday night, at the state dinner.
Q Thank you very much.
END 4:35 P.M. EDT