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Fareed Zakaria GPS

Interview With Hamid Karzai; Interview With Shashi Tharoor

Aired October 25, 2009 - 13:00   ET


FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.

On our program today, Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan. This is Karzai's first interview since a U.N. commission investigating the election delivered its verdict invalidating the results, because of widespread fraud.

After extended American arm-twisting, Karzai accepted the report. There will be a runoff on November 7th, but vital questions remain.

How will we ensure that the runoff itself does not have fraud? Even if he wins, can Karzai be possibly considered legitimate? Perhaps the most crucial question asked last week by White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, does the United States have a reliable partner in Afghanistan?

But first, my own views on the ever-changing topic of AFPAK.

I was actually very struck by the conversation I had last week with Tom Ricks, the superb defense analyst, who took us through the battle of Wanat, where nine American soldiers died in two hours in a fierce firefight with the Taliban.

The Army investigation has focused on tactics. But surely, the central question is strategic. Why were we there in the first place? Why are we trying to own real estate in the sparsely populated mountains of Afghanistan? Are we creating what David Kilcullen called "accidental guerrillas" -- people who fight us not out of ideology, but because we enter their space?

So, Tom Ricks put forward a wise idea at the end of the program last week where he said, do the Petraeus plan for the large population centers in Afghanistan. In other words, secure the area and the people around Kabul, Kandahar and the other big cities, and do the Biden plan for the rest of the country. In other words, lay low and strike only to disrupt potential terrorist activity. That sounds like a middle path that might actually work.

Anyway, after President Karzai, the man who handles India's foreign affairs, Shashi Tharoor, about Afghanistan, Iran and lots of other stuff.

Let's get started.


ZAKARIA: Now, joining us from the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai.

Mr. President, as always, thank you so much for joining us.

HAMID KARZAI, PRESIDENT OF AFGHANISTAN: Good to talk to you, as always.

ZAKARIA: Mr. President, you were quite critical of the Electoral Complaints Commission's original report. But now you have accepted the invalidating of a million ballots and the call for a runoff election.

What made you change your mind?

KARZAI: The Afghan election, unfortunately, was not treated as it should have been treated. Millions turned out, against odds, and then our election was defamed, was called a fraud.

Both the election commission and the complaints commission did their work towards (ph) -- and the news items about the fraudulent elections were so many and so widely distributed and so repeated, that even I began to believe as if, indeed, that much fraud was there, and began to doubt the elections.

But three days before I made the decision to call for a runoff, I got convinced that all that was said was mostly wrong, mostly wrong. There were some mistakes. There were some incidents of fraud. But the election as a whole was clean, and the result was clear.

I decided -- for peace, for stability and for the future of democracy in Afghanistan and for the future of institutional order in Afghanistan -- to call for a runoff. And I find that in the interest of the Afghan people.

ZAKARIA: You know there are many people who worry that there will be a lot of fraud in this runoff election. Is there anything you can do, is there anything you can say that would assure people that this election will be free of fraud?

KARZAI: Well, the last election wasn't as bad as it was claimed; it was a lot better. This election we should try to have better.

Afghanistan is a poor country -- in the Western terminology, a Third World country -- has gone through years of war. The institutions are just young toddlers in this democracy that resembles a toddler. It walks and falls.

We have to understand that. And we have to accept the Afghan result, elections, in the context of the Afghan situation, and the poverty and lack of means in this country.

Whatever happens, this election must present a clear result. And that result must be respected. But of course, the international community and us, the Afghans, must do everything that we can to make it better, to make it much more legitimate, and to make it worthwhile of the effort of the Afghan people.

ZAKARIA: Were you pressured by the United States? Did Ambassador Eikenberry, did people in Washington call you to pressure you to agree to a runoff?

KARZAI: Well, a lot of leaders called to ask me that. Senator Kerry was here, who conducted himself -- I must say that, I think I owe that to him -- conducted himself very, very well in Afghanistan and during all those periods of various negotiations with us.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown called. Other leaders called. My friend and my brother, the president of Turkey called. The president of Pakistan called for different reasons.

It was recognizing that Afghanistan had gone through so many years of difficulty, so many years of internal strife backed by foreign players. And I felt as if Afghanistan was entering that period again. I felt as if Afghans were pitted one against the other.

And for that reason, and for the reason of safety and security of the Afghan people, and, as I mentioned earlier, cementing democratic traditions in Afghanistan, I went to agree to a second round, which I believe is good for Afghanistan, which will eventually be good for all of us.

ZAKARIA: You know that your rival, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, has raised doubts about whether or not the runoff election can be held in two weeks.

Do you believe definitively that the runoff will be held in two weeks?

KARZAI: It has to be held.

I made sure to have agreement from all the international players before agreeing to a runoff, to have a second round -- absolutely, surely agreed upon and promised. Therefore, we must have a second round.

If we don't do that, we'll be insulting democracy and a pledge to respecting the vote of the people.

ZAKARIA: There are those, Mr. President, who say that Afghanistan is at such a critical moment, that what we really need is some kind of a national unity government.

Could you conceive of circumstances in which you would be willing to share power with Dr. Abdullah Abdullah and the coalition that he brings?

KARZAI: Afghanistan always had a national unity government. I was, as a matter of fact, blamed by some leaders in the West and the Western press for the last seven years for having been too inclusive. And that was my fault. And I was happy with that fault.

And now that some of the Western countries are asking me to be more inclusive, I'm happy that that recognition has come finally to them that Afghanistan is an inclusive government. I will have an inclusive government, as always.

Dr. Abdullah did not vote for me in 2004 election, but I continued to keep him as the minister of foreign affairs for another year-and-a-half, till the parliament came to a legitimate government, chosen by the Afghan people, arriving through an election. If he wants to come and work in my government, he's most welcome.

I am known for consensus and building it, and for inclusivity. And that's a good trademark.

ZAKARIA: Now, let me ask you, Mr. President, about widespread concerns in the United States, in Washington in particular, about your government. And I'm going to quote now from something Rahm Emanuel said, the chief of staff of the president, and as you know, a very powerful player in Washington.

He said, the key question we face is, is the government in Afghanistan, is Hamid Karzai's government, a reliable partner for the United States?

How would you answer that question?

KARZAI: Well, we have the same question, too. Is the United States a reliable partner with Afghanistan? Is the West a reliable partner with Afghanistan? Have we received the commitments that we were given? Have we been treated like a partner? And then, how do we define a partnership?

To me, as an Afghan, a partnership is in the war on terror where Afghan life is respected, where the Afghan properties are respected, where the Afghan tradition is respected, where we know the direction that we are moving to, where we are result-oriented, where we understand each other, where we recognize the needs of Afghanistan, the difficulties of Afghanistan.

We will also, as Afghans, in return recognize the needs of the United States and the conditions of the United States, and the interests of the United States in the war on terror. And that recognition and agreement mutually between us will make us move forward.

So, partnership is not a one-way street. It's a two-way street, and it has to have both sides respect each other. As poor as we may be in Afghanistan, as in need as we are in Afghanistan -- but we are still a country, a people, a history, and we do matter.

And General McChrystal's recent report, the strategy that he put forward, is the right one, because it speaks of protection of the civilian population. And that is exactly what you (ph) must do -- protect the civilian population, bring them the hope towards a better future, provide them the means of reconstruction and education, and separate the radical Taliban from those Taliban who were forced into moving away from Afghanistan, because of rough behavior and because of arrests, and because of bombardment, and because of the general feeling in the population that they are all seen as the Taliban and that no differentiation is made.

ZAKARIA: So, you support the McChrystal report, and you would like to see 40,000 more American troops in Afghanistan?

KARZAI: I support General McChrystal's report specifically when that report talks of providing protection to the population, providing them better reconstruction activity, and that the war on terror must not be pursuing and killing the Taliban, but it must rather concentrate on providing protection to the people.

Now, with regard to the addition of troops, this is a matter that we have to discuss, as the election gets over, with the U.S. government, the arrival of troops. If it contributes to better security for the Afghan people, if it contributes to better protection for our civilian population, and if it enhances the ability of the Afghan forces to eventually stand on their own feet and defend their country, that's something that we can work about and agree about.

ZAKARIA: But if you were to have the McChrystal report implemented, you realize there would be many, many more U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Would that produce any resentment, a sense of occupation? That is one of the fears people have in the United States.

KARZAI: That is a genuine concern, and that has to be taken very much into consideration. And that's why I emphasized two very important things: the arrival of forces must enhance the sense of protection of the Afghan people, and must give protection to the Afghan people.

It must not be a capture and kill pursuit of the Taliban. It must be one that provides protection to the country, and must also lead to the enhancement of the abilities of the Afghan military and security forces.

Therefore, they have to come as liberators, as they did in 2002, and not otherwise...

ZAKARIA: Many Americans are very skeptical...

KARZAI: ... if they come and when they come.

ZAKARIA: Many Americans are skeptical of the request for more troops. And some part of it is this fear that they do not have a credible, legitimate, effective partner, that the Afghan government has not been able to deliver on the promise of clean courts, impartial justice, development, and that these areas are a necessary component of any strategy to defeat the insurgency.

KARZAI: Well, if you read some of the reports by the World Bank and the United Nations, you would find that the Afghan government is found more capable of delivering the results to the Afghan people, that the money spent by the Afghan government is spent much better and more efficiently and on the right projects, and that the efficiency of the financial system here, as for a country like us, among the best in the world for a country like us. So, that's documented and there.

We began this reform seven years ago. We're a lot better, a lot more capable, a lot more able to deliver justice than we were seven years ago. It will take a lot more and many, many more years, sir, to get to where we desire to. And for that, we must have patience.

ZAKARIA: Stay with us. We will be back with the president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai.


ZAKARIA: So, this is what Thomas Friedman, the foreign affairs columnist for the "New York Times," wrote last week.

He said, "Whatever we may think, there are way too many Afghans who think our partner, Karzai and his team, are downright awful.

"And too many Afghan people now blame us for installing and maintaining this Karzai government."

What do you say to that?



ZAKARIA: And we are back with Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan.

A former World Bank official, who was your finance minister, Dr. Ashraf Ghani, says of your government and of you, he says it has become like a bad example of a Shakespearian king, who was out of touch, remote in his palace, changes his mind all the time, and is, as a result, providing very bad governance to his people.

What do you say to -- this is a man who was your finance minister.

KARZAI: Well, I'm not going to comment on a fellow Afghan on international television.

ZAKARIA: But he is raising a very serious issue in terms of how the United States should regard, you know, the possibilities of pouring more money, troops and resources into your government.

KARZAI: Even then, I will not comment on a fellow Afghan. He's my fellow Afghan. And he and I will sit down here in Kabul and talk it over, but not on a public television channel.

ZAKARIA: Could you imagine inviting him back into government?

KARZAI: Well, after the elections, where I received 54 percent of the vote, as was announced by the election commission at that time, he was kind enough to come and see me, and we had a good meeting.

ZAKARIA: And perhaps something will come of that in terms of his involvement in the Afghan government?

KARZAI: Any Afghan who wants to come and work in Afghanistan, and do it patriotically, is welcome.

ZAKARIA: So, this is what Thomas Friedman, the foreign affairs columnist for the "New York Times," wrote last week.

He said, "Whatever we may think, there are way too many Afghans who think our partner, Karzai and his team, are downright awful.

"I am not sure Washington fully understands just how much the Taliban-led insurgency is an insurrection against the behavior of the Karzai government -- not against the religion or civilization of its international partners. And too many Afghan people now blame us for installing and maintaining this Karzai government."

What do you say to that?

KARZAI: Yes, I guess Mr. Friedman was angered by the resignation from the ECC of one of its members, Mr. Barakzai, so he wrote that article as point to that. I understand his anger.

ZAKARIA: But do you think that there is truth to the charge, the substantive charge, that a large number of the -- a large part of the insurgency is not fueled by visions of global jihad, but this is just opposition to the Kabul government? That there is a kind of Pashtun- led opposition to the...

KARZAI: Well, that's sort of -- that sort of story has been going around for some time. I think it's not going to serve anybody in America or in NATO to try to make scapegoats out of the Afghan government, or out of the Afghan people.

I think we must recognize that we have all made mistakes -- some in Afghanistan, some in the international community. So, let's correct those mistakes, and let's move forward, if you are interested in fighting terrorism effectively.

ZAKARIA: But what would those -- what are those mistakes?

Because I think it's fair to say, an objective analysis says, that your government has lost the support of substantial segments of the Pashtun population -- which is surprising at some level, because you are yourself a Pashtun.

KARZAI: Well, I have received votes from all around the country and from the whole country. In fact, the trouble between my government or myself and our allies has been these blind bombardments of our villages, the attacks on our people at night, raiding their homes, arresting them and putting them in prison.

So, the Pashtuns have, as a matter of fact, been hurt a lot in this war on terror. And they expect me as their president to defend them and to speak for them.

ZAKARIA: Do you believe that the insurgency is one which can be divided between those who are hardcore Taliban -- perhaps even pro-al Qaeda -- and then a more moderate part of the movement, or people who may just be in it for the money, or as generic grievances against the government?

Is it possible to wean them away from the Taliban? Is it possible to make an outreach? And why has it not been successful so far?

KARZAI: Well, we cannot wean them away from the Taliban, if we are constantly attacking them. They cannot be weaned away from the Taliban, if they are not secure in their homes and their villages. They cannot be weaned away from the Taliban, if they're not given a hope for the future.

ZAKARIA: Do you think that you will be able to regain the support of the Pashtuns, which appears to be the key to defeating the insurgency at a political level?

KARZAI: Well, the support of the Pashtun population, both in Afghanistan and Pakistan, to stand up against extremism, to stand up against terrorism, of which they are the primary victims -- a great, great majority of bombs and suicide bombs and damage caused to the population, both in Afghanistan and Pakistan, occurs to the Pashtuns in both countries. So, they are the victims.

Therefore, we are not talking of weaning away the Pashtuns from terrorists. Therefore, we are talking of liberating the Pashtuns from terrorists, freeing them from terrorists, and also freeing them from unnecessary attacks of those who are waging the war on terror.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about what is going on in Pakistan. The Pakistani army is now launching an offensive in South Waziristan against the forces of the Pakistani Taliban.

Is this a good idea?

KARZAI: The war on terror must take place, and we must all join hands to do it effectively. But the war on terror must not become a war on a population. And the war on terror especially must not become a war against the Pashtun people.

With that categorization, we are fully behind any efforts to remove extremists and terrorists, and to cooperate together. But we must make sure that no civilians are hurt, that no Pashtun families -- because they happen to be Pashtun and because they happen to be affected by terrorists who have taken place in their midst -- they must not be hurt or affected.

ZAKARIA: Now, the Pakistani operation appears to be in South Waziristan, which is where the Pakistani Taliban are, the Taliban forces that threaten the Pakistani state. They are not directing this operation in North Waziristan, which is where the Afghan Taliban is apparently headquartered, where there are groups such as the Haqqani faction, such as members of the so-called Quetta Shura, who launch attacks against Afghanistan.

Do you think that the Pakistani military intends to go after those Taliban elements, those Taliban groups that are attacking Afghanistan, as opposed to simply the ones attacking Pakistan?

KARZAI: Well, the government of Pakistan and Afghanistan have a very constructive relationship at present. And as soon as the election is over, and if I win in that election, I will make sure to enhance that relationship with Pakistan, our brothers to the east of our country, and will work together with them to do all that we can to fight against extremism and terrorism.

ZAKARIA: Mr. President, that was a very eloquent answer, but you didn't answer my question.

Do you believe Pakistan, the Pakistani military will attack North Waziristan and attack the groups that have been attacking your country -- something that they have so far not done?

KARZAI: I can't predict that. I can't predict that. I hope we will be able to conduct an effective campaign against terrorism, making sure that every Taliban are not hurt, because every Taliban is not a terrorist. The Taliban are thousands of people in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

We must differentiate between the Taliban and the terrorists' attack, al Qaeda and the terrorists, and leave the civilians and the Taliban who are not part of that structure out, and respect their life and property.

ZAKARIA: We will be back with the president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai.


ZAKARIA: Admiral Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently said, "al Qaeda," he said, "is not in Afghanistan. It is entirely in Pakistan."

Which raises the question to many Americans, why do we have to stay here if al Qaeda is in Pakistan?



ZAKARIA: And we are back with Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan.

Admiral Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently said, "al Qaeda," he said," is not in Afghanistan. It is entirely in Pakistan."

Which raises the question to many Americans, I think, then why are we in Afghanistan? Why are there 68,000 American troops? Why are there almost 100,000 foreign forces, in general, in Afghanistan? How would you answer that to an American who is wondering, why do we have to stay here if al Qaeda is in Pakistan?

KARZAI: Well, the Americans came to Afghanistan after the tragic events of September 11, to wage a war against terrorism. And at that time, al Qaeda had a base in Afghanistan, and that base was removed.

Now, we must continue to struggle together -- the United States and Pakistan and Afghanistan together -- to do the rest of it, wherever they may be.

ZAKARIA: Mr. President, as always, a great pleasure. We thank you for doing this, sir, and we hope to talk to you again soon.

KARZAI: Thank you very much. Good to talk to you.


ZAKARIA: Now for our "What in the World" segment.

What got my attention this week was the release of my friend and colleague, Maziar Bahari, from the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran. Bahari is an award-winning filmmaker and journalist, whom I've worked with extensively at Newsweek, and who has also been a guest on this program.

On June 21st, he was arrested in Tehran as he was reporting for Newsweek on that nation's strongly contested elections. During the almost four months he was detained, no formal charges were ever announced, and he had no access to lawyers.

He was put on "a trial" in August. As I said before in this space, it was at best a show trial, like those put on by Stalin in the 1930s -- an absolute mockery of jurisprudence.

After posting bail last weekend, he was released and then later allowed to fly to London to his pregnant wife.

Some say Maziar's release is a sign that the Iranian regime might be softening. Who knows why they finally came to their senses? What we do know is that the regime is under pressure.

A suicide bomber struck near the Pakistan border. Five senior officers of the elite Revolutionary Guard were among the more than 40 people killed.

Now, this attack was remarkable, because it was against an all- powerful political and military unit -- but more importantly, because of its method. Suicide bombings are just not part of Iranian culture. The Iranian regime, of course, immediately blamed the U.S. and the U.K. and Pakistan for backing the attack.

But the fact of the matter is, it is the Iranian people who are fighting this regime -- now violently.

On the world front, after ignoring the international community's entreaties to come to the table on the nuclear issue for many months, Iranian finally did. They even went so far as to reach some kind of a draft deal with the U.S., Russia, France and the U.N. We'll see if they make good on their word this time.

Now, others say Maziar's release was a humanitarian act by the regime. They wanted to make sure he was there for the birth of his first child.

Fine. But please remember, this was a man who should never have been arrested in the first place. Furthermore, it is really impossible to use the word "humanitarian" when you look at the rest of the picture. It's estimated that hundreds of people, including 25 of Maziar's fellow journalists, remain imprisoned in Iran from the post- election crackdown.

And most disturbing is this. The Iranians recently dropped a bombshell that was missed by many. Three people have been sentenced to death in connection with post-election protests. No charges have been specified. We don't even know their names, only their initials -- M.Z., A.P. and N.A.

So, to M.Z., A.P. and N.A., and all of the others, I will say this. I am delighted that Maziar Bahari has now been granted his freedom. But I will not end my call for the Iranian regime to release all prisoners illegitimately arrested in the post-election crackdown.

If Iran wants respect on the world stage, it must respect the rights of its own people.


SHASHI THAROOR: We believe that if India becomes a successful, prosperous economy, free of the fear of terrorist attack, Pakistan will benefit very much from being next door to it.

So, I would say to Pakistan, instead of fearing that you will be isolated, come in and join the party. There's a great deal we can do together.



ZAKARIA: Last week I tried to bring a new perspective to the crisis in Pakistan by looking at how its problems affect its neighbor and traditional enemy, India.

I spoke with Shashi Tharoor, who is essentially the deputy foreign minister or deputy secretary of state of India.

Last week we talked a lot about Pakistan, but India is also playing a role in Afghanistan, in negotiations with Iran, and he had important things to say on all of those subjects. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO) SHASHI THAROOR, MINISTER OF STATE FOR EXTERNAL AFFAIRS OF INDIA: We are a big player in Afghanistan, but we have absolutely no military role whatsoever.

We spent almost $2 billion. We're one of the biggest donors of development assistance in Afghanistan. But you know what we're spending it on? We're building hospitals. We built a 128-kilometer highway. We put in power transmission lines and electricity supplies.

The reason that Kabul has 24 hours of electricity a day is because of Indian engineers who have actually delivered the power supply.

We're setting up clinics. We're training Afghan administrators. We're doing things to build up civil society and...

ZAKARIA: So, then, why does the Taliban regard you as an enemy?

THAROOR: Taliban doesn't like us, because, in many ways, they're sympathetic to the professed Islamist extremist goals of our enemies.

But, you know, we're not there to please the Taliban. We're there in defense of the legitimate government of Afghanistan -- that is, Mr. Karzai -- and we're not defending him with guns. We're defending him with aid. We're defending him with development assistance.

ZAKARIA: Do you support the...

THAROOR: The Afghan people are our objective.

ZAKARIA: Do you support the foreign troop presence in Afghanistan?

THAROOR: Yes, indeed. And I might say that the NATO elements have actually applauded what we're doing by saying that it's actually useful. Because, after all, you can't bring Afghanistan into the future by military actions alone. You need to have a development component.

And countries like us that go in and give this sort of assistance are actually also reinforcing the longer strategic objectives of the NATO presence.

ZAKARIA: Do you support what the United States is doing with Pakistan? That is, the bill, the military aid bill, the Kerry-Lugar bill, that has some fairly tough conditions on it, but gives them a lot of money?

THAROOR: You see, we have actually applauded the U.S. supporting Pakistan on two things. First is its own economic development, and the second is equipping it to overcome the homegrown horror of terrorism. Whether in this month (ph), Mir Ali (ph), Waziristan, or whatever, these are things that Pakistan needs help from the U.S. to deal with. What we don't want is for the extensive resources the U.S. is offering to be diverted for the purpose for which it was not intended, namely, to be used against us.

But our bitter experience over the last 25 years has been, ever since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, money gets poured in from Washington into Islamabad, and a colossally high percentage of it is actually spent, not on the purposes that Washington intends, but to buy tanks and planes and artillery aimed directly at India.

This is something that frustrates us enormously.

ZAKARIA: So, the one thing the Pakistanis want from you is some softening of your attitude on Kashmir. You still have an enormous troop presence in Kashmir, which is still under virtual martial law.

THAROOR: Why was that necessary, sadly? I mean, again, militancy coming in from across the border.

You know, there's always got to be given both sides. And we can certainly talk about how to move forward in Kashmir. As you probably know, there were very, very good talks going on between President Musharraf and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and their envoys on a long-term, durable peace, including issues relating to Kashmir.

What ended it? The attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul on July 1st derailed it, but didn't end it, and then the Mumbai massacre -- both of which originated from across the border in Pakistan.

So, again, India would say to you very honestly, every gesture for peace has been made by our side; every gesture that has thwarted peace has come from the other side. And that's the regrettable thing.

Pakistan needs peace as much as we do. When will they come to the realization that it's in their interest to end this unproductive approach?

ZAKARIA: Do you believe that the attack outside the Indian embassy was planned in Pakistan and by elements of the Pakistani military?

THAROOR: Well, the attack in July of 2008, apparently, certainly was. And I'm quoting the "New York Times," which quoted American intelligence as saying the ISI's fingerprints were all over it. I'm not referring to any Indian intelligence information on that.

About what happened just a few days before you and I are speaking, we'll have to wait and see. There should be a conclusive investigation that tells us where this is coming from.

But, you know, we're really not interested in finger-pointing. We're interested in moving to a state of affairs where this kind of thing doesn't keep happening. And for that, Pakistan will have to really act decisively to cauterize the cancer in its midst, because this is, unfortunately, the result of a policy, a deliberate policy, carried out over a period of years -- one would argue, a couple of decades -- of actually encouraging jihadist militancy as an instrument of policy.

I don't believe that today's government in Pakistan thinks that was a good idea. But it has to act to end the bitter legacy that that idea has spawned.

ZAKARIA: You know that the Pakistanis are very fearful of a blossoming relationship between the United States and India. They fear that the United States and India are in a kind of long-term love affair, because India is becoming this rising power, potentially a counterweight to China, two great democracies, and that they will get left behind in all this.

THAROOR: Well, look. First of all, I don't think that the U.S.'s relationship with India has anything to do with a third country, just as the U.S.'s relationship with Pakistan doesn't have anything to do with a third country.

We expect that there will be, naturally, sort of a dehyphenated perception of the bilateral relationships.

Certainly, as far as Pakistan is concerned, we believe that, if India becomes a successful, prosperous economy, free of the fear of terrorist attack, Pakistan will benefit very much from being next door to it.

Do you know that India has offered most-favored nation trading status unilaterally to Pakistan in the mid-'90s, and Pakistan has still not reciprocated?

ZAKARIA: Is that offer still on the table?

THAROOR: Oh, it's been extended. Today, Pakistan can export things to India on that basis.

The problem at the moment, frankly, is that it's been Pakistan throughout that has turned down these overtures.

So, I would say to Pakistan, instead of fearing that you will be isolated, come in and join the party. There's a great deal we can do together. Our peoples have so much in common. We were one for millennia before 1947. We can get on together. We have a lot of common, shared interests.

To this day, Pakistani musicians, writers, and so on, flourish in India. And the Indian market and the Indian audience are important to them.

We'd like to be -- you know, to embrace them in that spirit, but only if they stop sending us people who the kinds of things that happened in Mumbai just nine months ago.

ZAKARIA: Will India support the efforts by the international community -- the United Nations, the Europeans and the Americans -- to put greater pressure on Iran, to make sure that whatever nuclear program they have is open, transparent and within the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty, which Iran has signed? THAROOR: Freely and voluntarily signed. Opposition has been very clear. And we've said it to the Iranians. We respect totally their sovereign right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Every country has that right.

We also feel that, having signed the NPT, having chosen freely and voluntarily to do so, they have certain obligations to fulfill. And the impression we have had in recent years -- and IAEA reports have borne this out -- is that they have failed to fulfill those obligations, which is why we have voted against them and with the Western countries in the IAEA, not once, but twice. So, our position in that respect is very clear.

We would encourage, however, dialogue with the Iranians to come to a peaceful accommodation. We certainly don't want the situation spiraling out of control. And we have some hesitation about the utility of sanctions that will hurt innocent civilians.

We believe there are ways in which this dialogue should bring us all to a satisfactory conclusion.

ZAKARIA: But what do you do...

THAROOR: But weapons are not to be used, are not to be developed. But Iran's other sovereign rights can be preserved.

ZAKARIA: But what do you do if the Iranians continue to deceive the IAEA? In that circumstance, would you consider voting for additional sanctions?

THAROOR: Well, at this stage, that's a hypothetical question, Fareed. We are talking to all of the parties concerned, and we're getting extensive briefings from the director general of the IAEA, who keeps us fully informed. We're on the board of governors of the IAEA.

So, we will take the decision at the appropriate time, but we are looking at this very carefully. And though we have a long and almost sort of civilizational relationship with Iran going back millennia as well -- they are really a historic neighbor of ours, and we've really had a lot to do with other -- on this issue, India is not a proliferator and does not welcome proliferation.

ZAKARIA: On that note, Shashi Tharoor, a pleasure to have you on.

THAROOR: Nice to see you, Fareed. Thanks for having me.

ZAKARIA: And we will be right back.



ZAKARIA: Now, to the question of the week.

We spent a lot of time last Sunday talking about the Dow hitting 10,000. And I asked you where you thought the Dow would be in a year.

The optimists outweighed the pessimists by a 2-to-1 ratio. But, boy, was there a wide range.

The most bearish viewer, Eric, said that one year from now, the Dow would be at 1,000 -- yes, a drop of 9,000 points -- due to what he called a perfect storm of catastrophic events coalescing.

On the more optimistic side, Craig Rittenhouse of West Lafayette, Indiana, said the Dow would be at 15,000 in a year's time.

Thank God for the bulls of the year. Hopefully, they will be right.

And as always, I'd like to recommend a book. This time it's a novel by my guest, Shashi Tharoor. It's called "The Great Indian Novel," and it is just that. It is based on the 2,000-year-old Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. But it recasts the poem's tale as one of India's independence movement of the mid 20th century.

Now, the Mahabharata is famous for its length -- 100,000 verses, almost two million words.

Shashi's book, I assure you, is a much more manageable length, and it is an absolutely delightful read.

Also, test how well you've been following world affairs this week. Take the Fareed Challenge at It's great fun.

Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.