President Bush says he will encourage the leaders of India and Pakistan to resolve the decades-long Kashmir dispute during his upcoming visit to the South Asian nuclear rivals.
Speaking at the Asia Society in Washington, Mr. Bush said New Delhi and Islamabad are engaged in a direct dialogue about the difficult question and have a historic opportunity to work toward lasting peace.
He said relations between India and the United States have greatly improved after the end of the Cold War, and that the two countries are working together to spread democracy in the world.
Mr. Bush called Pakistan a key U.S. ally in the war on terrorism. He praised President Pervez Musharraf for taking a great personal risk in fighting the terrorists who have tried to assassinate him.
Mr. Bush also said mobs must not be allowed to dictate policies in South Asia and that it is the duty of governments to maintain the rule of law.
This was an apparent reference to the protests in Pakistan and India over cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad that were first published in September in Denmark.