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'India has important role in Central Asia'

While the civilian nuclear deal definitely tops the agenda, what else is on tap on your US-India agenda in terms of priorities?

We came back from the trip and my staff immediately listed all the things we'd agreed to and how do we follow up. Some are already forming the commissions and transferring the funding and moving on them. There are some really important things that happened. They all have this sort of theme of technology - applying technology to our cooperation, applying technology to the lives of people in India and the United States. So cooperation on clean fuels -- not just nuclear energy but clean coal, wind power, using knowledge in agriculture, the way the United States and India cooperated in the 1960s for the Green Revolution. So getting us together again with money from the Indian government and the US government -- I would say, the Indian government in this case has more money put into it than we do -- but to cooperate and see if we can't get a Green Revolution going again. Also, a science and technology commission. We are both putting in about $15 million to start funding joint research activities. So there is place after place, where we are pooling our technological expertise and resources in trying to apply it to problems that India faces and the United States faces and come up with some better answers.

While both India and Pakistan have said they are committed to the composite dialogue process, India complains that cross-border terrorism from Pakistan still continues, and the terrorist incident in Varanasi was the most recent manifestation. I believe the President and the Secretary also brought up this issue during the meeting with President Musharraf in Islamabad.

First of all, it's important to note that the Varanasi attack was a terrible attack. It was horrible. We've condemned it, we've offered our sympathy to all the people that were injured and we are very much concerned about it because it was a holy place and because it was an urban center and perhaps a little different kind of attack than we've seen before and we hope it's not an indicator of things that might happen. It should never happen again. But I don't think at this point, we know who did it. I haven't seen any real results from the investigation. I know there is a lot of speculation out there about groups that might have been involved, but I haven't seen any real information yet at this point.

The issue of ending cross-border terrorism is certainly very important to us. The direction that President Musharraf has set for his country of ending extremism, stopping terrorism, is a key strategic objective that we have and we want to work with him on that and we have been working with him on that. And that means making the point that the President made in public and in private during his trip, which is that there are no good terrorists and bad terrorists. You have to end all the terrorism -- all the people who want to commit violence for political reasons, and you have to channel that political energy into political dialogues and discussions.

And so, we are working with him on all fronts to try to encourage him to do that and yes, we do expect to see progress -- and there has been some progress. There have been some camps closed down and there have been some changes in the kind of infiltration we've seen. So we've seen progress and we want to see continuing progress. But the big picture of ending extremism in Pakistan -- it's important to Pakistan first of all, to society, to build a moderate society. It's important to us as interested people and it's important to India as well and everybody in the region. So that's something that we all really ought to work on, but in all its aspects.

At least 20 people were killed and 0ver 50 hurt in twin blasts which rocked the holy town of Varanasi March 7. Indian security agencies say the explosions were engineered by Pakistan-trained terrorists.

Photograph : Strdel/AFP/Getty Images

Also See: 'N-deal does not bode well for Pak'

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