Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, May 25, 2005

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For IMMEDIATE Release

U.S. Relations with South Asia: a Review
Leach Schedules Tuesday Hearing with Rocca, Others
 

BACKGROUND:  U.S. interests in South Asia continue to expand and cover a broad spectrum of issues, from efforts to combat terrorism and weapons proliferation to human rights protection, economic development, relations between India and Pakistan, and counter narcotics.  The linchpin of the Administration’s approach appears to be what it recently termed a “new strategy for South Asia,” which, among other goals, unambiguously seeks to “help India become a major world power in the 21st century.”  In addition to bolstering ties with India, other U.S. goals include: preventing a nuclear war on the Subcontinent; discreetly supporting Indo-Pakistani rapprochement; building a stable, long-term relationship with Pakistan; preventing Maoist guerrillas from taking power in Nepal; working to promote peace and stability in Sri Lanka; and addressing governance concerns in Bangladesh. 

WHAT:                                          Subcommittee Oversight Hearing: The United States and South Asia
                                                       Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
                                                      
U.S. Rep. Jim A. Leach (R-IA), Chairman

WHEN:                                          9:30 a.m., Tuesday, June 14, 2005

WHERE:                                        Room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES:                                Panel I
                                                       Christina B. Rocca
, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South Asian Affairs, U.S. Department of State;

                                                        Panel II
                                                       Dr. Ashley J. Tellis
, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace;
                                                       Dr. Stephen P. Cohen
, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution;
                                                       Dana Robert Dillon
, Senior Policy Analyst, The Heritage Foundation, Asia Studies Center.

 Issues of concern to the Subcommittee include:

bullet The pace and scope of strategic alignment between the U.S. and India, including prospects for civilian nuclear cooperation (currently circumscribed by U.S. adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a variety of domestic statutes);
bullet Pakistani cooperation in defeating Al Qaeda, including the question of whether or not extremist groups allegedly operating in Pakistan, such Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad, as well as other sectarian terrorist organizations, should increasingly become a priority for bilateral cooperation in counter-terrorism;
bullet WMD proliferation, including the extent to which Pakistan is cooperating with the U.S. and IAEA to dismantle the network established by A.Q. Khan;
bullet Prospects for democratization in Pakistan and the extent to which democracy, building civil society, and strengthening Pakistani institutions should perhaps be a clearer focus of U.S. policy;
bullet The status of Maoist insurgency in Nepal, the political agenda of the king, and whether the U.S. should suspend lethal arms sales to the Nepalese army in response to the royal coup of February 1st and alleged human rights abuses by the Nepalese military;
bullet Prospects for a political resolution of the Sri Lankan civil war, including agreement on a joint mechanism to distribute Tsunami relief in areas to the north and east of the country;
bullet The possible erosion of governance and the rule of law in Bangladesh, and the implications of recent domestic trends for internal stability as well as the broader South Asian region.

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