US sees 2007 Pak polls as test of democracy
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US sees 2007 Pak polls as test of democracy

US State Dept official Josette Shiner has said the next year polls will be an important test of the Pak's commitment to democracy.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2006 13:02 IST

A senior US State Department official has said the Pakistan national elections set fornext year will be an important test of the country's commitment to democratic reform.

"The government in Islamabad must ensure that these elections are open, free and fair," Josette Shiner, US under secretary for economic, business and agricultural affairs said.

Shiner addressed a gathering at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research group.

On India, Shiner said US trade and investment with that country is only 10 per cent of what it is with China but said that its share is increasing.

Shiner pointed out that US exports to India grew by 30 per cent last year while Indian exports to the US grew 20 per cent.

By 2025, "India's economy will be one of the five largest in the world," she said.

Pakistan has come a long way from its stagnant economic past, boasting the second fastest growing economy in Asia last year, Shiner said, crediting in part the "excellent economic team" assembled by President Pervez Musharraf.

"By fostering economic growth and development, we reduce the appeal of radical Islam and demonstrate American friendship and partnership with the Pakistani people," she said.

First Published: Feb 25, 2006 12:12 IST