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Cricket can do wonders for India, Pak: Colin Powell

March 17, 2004 19:28 IST

United States Secretary of State Colin Powell expressed hope that cricket would help change the face of relations between India and Pakistan as 'a simple ping pong match' had that kind of effect on Sino-US ties.

"When people come together, go to each other's country, and watch a conflict being played out on the field of sport, as opposed to the field of battle, and you see people can do this and appreciate the other side, appreciate the power the other side brings to the field, then why can't that same spirit, that same philosophy infect other aspects of relations,' he observed on Wednesday during an interview to Doordarshan.

He described as a 'bold move' Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and President Gen Pervez Musharraf's decision in January to enter into a comprehensive dialogue.

Referring to the reduction of violence along the Line of Control, Powell noted that 'circumstances are in place' for there to be progress on this issue. "One, both leaders are committed. But I think more importantly, both people want to see progress, want to see peace," he added.

Powell defended the failure of the US to take action when it had information of nuclear proliferation by Pakistani metallurgist A Q Khan saying it was 'not just a matter of having information but to ensure that the information is accurate and useful'.

"Some of the information we got from the Libyans confirmed much of the information that we had about Khan in such a way that it can account for an absolutely ironclad case. And when we did that, President Musharraf acted," he said.

When asked about the double standards that the US adopted with respect to Pakistan and Iraq, Powell said, "We take action against all proliferators. It doesn't always mean that the action has to be a military action."

Referring to Saddam Hussein, Powell said action was taken because the ousted Iraqi president had ignored the directions of the international community for 12 years.

Powell described the Indian electoral system as a 'fascinating' one singling out the electronic voting system as, perhaps, superior to the many systems in the US. "We look forward to work with whatever leadership the Indian people decides to have," he said.

Asked about US concerns on outsourcing, Powell described Indo-US trade ties as a 'maturing relationship' and said, "India is going to become a major trading partner and we should do everything we can to encourage that kind of progress and growth. It benefits both peoples."

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