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Chronology of Major Events 2005

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Chronology of Major Events 2005
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Chronology of Major Events 2005

United States

Strategic Profile

13 January: The U.S. investigators searching for Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction reportedly gave up the hunt and left Iraq with an appeal to the Pentagon for the release of several Iraqi scientists still being questioned.

15 January: America was reportedly "alarmed'' at the European Union move to lift its 15-year-old ban on arms sales to China. British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, was to visit China the following week in a sign of increasingly closer relations with Beijing and the E.U. proposal to lift the arms embargo was reported to be high on the agenda during his talks with Chinese leaders.

18 January: The Pentagon criticised a report that it has conducted reconnaissance missions in Iran but would not deny the assertion that the President, George W Bush, has signed off on an executive order authorising secret missions by special forces on suspected terror targets in 10 countries in West Asia and South Asia.

21 January:The U.S Vice-President Dick Cheney acknowledged that he had miscalculated on how quickly the Iraqis would be able to recover from the regime of Saddam Hussein and run their own country. He, however, said that Iran was on top of the threat list in West Asia and it was sponsoring terrorism against Americans.

20 January:George Bush began his second presidential term with a call to American action abroad, committing the United States to the spread of global democracy and “ending tyranny in our world.'' Mr. Bush made clear that the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts had not diminished his determination to take the “war on terror'' to America's enemies.

2 February:The U.S. President, George Bush, in his State of the Union Address said America's commitment in Iraq remains "firm and unchanging," and ruled out an "artificial timetable" for leaving that country saying it would only embolden the terrorists.

7 February:The U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, ended her visit to Israel and the West Bank, after stating that a "security coordinator" was being appointed for the region and pledging a $40-million aid package for the Palestinian Authority. Dr. Rice reiterated that the U.S. was committed to Palestinian independence.

19 February:The United States President, George W. Bush, said that his country has no plans for attacking Iran to take out its suspected nuclear weapons and that diplomacy is still the preferred route.

21 February: The U.S. President, George W. Bush, in Brussels for a summit most European analysts described as a "trans-Atlantic fence-mending mission", said minor disagreements could not shake the firm friendship that existed between Europe and the United States. Without citing the quarrels over Iraq, Mr. Bush declared his support for a "strong Europe" that is united and democratic and working as a partner of the United States to promote global peace.

28 February:Although it was facing charges of human rights abuse in Iraq, the U.S issued a global human rights report that found fault with several countries such as Sudan, Iran, North Korea, Myanmar, China, Russia and Saudi Arabia for their human rights record.

8 March: The U.S. President, George Bush, nominated Undersecretary of State John Bolton, one of the administration's sharpest critics of the United Nations, to be the next U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. in a move that officials said signals Washington's desire to play a leading role in reshaping the 59-year-old institution.

17 March: The U.S. President, George W Bush, nominated one of the administration's top hawks, Paul Wolfowitz, as the next President of the World Bank. "Paul Wolfowitz is a proven leader and experienced diplomat who will guide the World Bank effectively and honourably during a critical time in history — both for the Bank and the developing nations it supports", Mr. Bush said in a statement.

22 March:The U.S. expressed reservations over the U.N. Secretary-General, Kofi Annan's proposal for laying down guidelines for the use of military force by member-States, saying it was skeptical about the effectiveness of such a move. “Frankly, we're skeptical that any kind of resolution on the use of force would be helpful. Certainly, we'd want to discuss it further with others,'' the State Department spokesman Adam Ereli told reporters.

31 March:In yet another highly critical report, a Presidential Commission said that spy agencies were "dead wrong" in most of their judgements on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction; and that the U.S. knows "disturbingly little" about the threats posed by dangerous adversaries.

12 April: The U.S. President, George Bush, delivered an unusually stern public warning to the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, against plans to expand Jewish settlement blocs in the West Bank. The censure, delivered on a visit to the presidential ranch was the strongest sign so far of Washington's concern that a settlement expansion could wreck Mr Bush's road map for West Asia peace.

26 April: In his final word, the CIA's top weapons inspector in Iraq said the hunt for weapons of mass destruction had “gone as far as feasible'' and has found nothing, closing an investigation into the purported programmes of Saddam Hussein that were used to justify the 2003 invasion.

3 May: The gulf between Iran and the United States widened considerably when the Bush administration, at the opening of a conference on the future of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, demanded that Iran dismantle all the “equipment and facilities'' it has built over the past two decades to manufacture nuclear material.

4 May: The U.S. military may not be able to win any new wars as quickly as planned because the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have strained its manpower and resources, Gen. Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress in a classified report.

7 May: United States President George W. Bush at a news conference with the leaders of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania saluted the leaders of fledgling democracies in three Baltic nations that endured Soviet oppression for half a century, and said they could help Russian President Vladimir Putin see the benefits of living in a free society.

4 June: The Pentagon confirmed that American soldiers at Guantanamo Bay detention centre had desecrated the Koran. The U.S. Defence department in the wake of widespread criticism acknowledged that a soldier deliberately kicked the holy book and another stepped on the Koran.

4 June: United States Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld emphasised that China posed no threat to Washington. Responding to a specific question from a top Chinese official at the Asian Security Conference in Singapore, Mr. Rumsfeld insisted that "no nation threatens China", either. In the same breath, he sought to warn China that its international profile would diminish if it were to fail to "open up" its political system.

13 June: The United States imposed sanctions on Israel after a dispute over Israel's sale of drones — unmanned aerial vehicles — to China, according to news reports. The U.S. suspended co-operation on several development projects and froze delivery of night-vision equipment.

16 June: The United States favoured adding "two or so" permanent members, including Japan, to the United Nations Security Council but virtually rejected the proposal of India and three other countries to give up veto power for 15 years in return for their induction in the Council.

24 June: The U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, discussed plans for punitive action against Syria with other Western Foreign Ministers over its alleged involvement in Iraq, Lebanon and Israel. Ms. Rice used a meeting in London of Foreign Ministers from the Group of Eight — the U.S., Britain, France, Canada, Japan, Germany, Italy and Russia — to mobilise international support against Syria.

10 July: Even as China affirmed its "willingness to further strengthen the constructive and cooperative relations" with Washington, the U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, raised the Tibet issue in her talks with Chinese leaders in Beijing. While appreciating China's role in bringing North Korea back to the negotiating table Ms. Rice told a press conference after the talks that she raised the Tibet issue, with particular reference to Dalai Lama maintaining that he posed "no threat" to China.

4 August: TheUnited States and China agreed to work together to block a plan to expand the powerful U.N. Security Council backed by Brazil, Germany, India and Japan, China's U.N. Ambassador in New York. Wang Guangya said he reached the agreement with John Bolton during a meeting, which was the new U.S. Ambassador's first full day in his new post.

18 August: U.S. intelligence officials believe that the exclusion of American observers at the joint China-Russia military exercises is a signal that it is not wanted in Central Asia. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said both China and Russia only notified the U.S. about the exercises.

11 September: The Pentagon drafted a new doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons to pre-empt an attack by a nation or a terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction. The draft, put together by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, envisions commanders requesting presidential approval for such use. The document titled "Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations" and dated 15 March 2005, which has been put on the Pentagon website, also includes the option of using nuclear arms to destroy known enemy stockpiles of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

14 September: Chinese President Hu Jintao and his U.S. counterpart George W. Bush agreed to enhance mutual trust and cooperation and make concerted efforts to develop bilateral relations. The two leaders held talks right after Mr. Hu arrived in New York here to attend the summit on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations.

21 September: At a news briefing with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice brushed off a demand from North Korea for a light water nuclear reactor, saying that the accord announced in Beijing left it clear that the North must first abandon its nuclear arms programme before such a matter could be discussed.

26 October: The United States accepted a Japanese proposal for the relocation of a U.S. air station on Okinawa, resolving a dispute that had blocked progress on military realignment talks and caused friction between the two allies.

17 November:United States President George W. Bush and his South Korean counterpart, Roh Moo-hyun signalled that they would "not tolerate" a nuclear-armed Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The two leaders, who met ahead of the Asia-Pacific economic leaders' meeting in Busan (South Korea), reaffirmed their commitment to resolve the issues related to the DPRK's nuclear-weapons programme through "peaceful, diplomatic" means.

30 November:U.S. President George W. Bush vowed to settle for nothing less than “complete victory'' in Iraq which he defined as a secure country free of “terrorists'' who could threaten the United States. Mr. Bush made his pledge in a major speech at the U.S. Naval Academy where he stressed the global fight against terrorism in defending the increasingly unpopular war in Iraq.

7 December:Condoleezza Rice began her tour of Europe with a rare public admission that the U.S. had made “mistakes'' in the war on terror. Speaking after a meeting with Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, Ms. Rice insisted that the U.S. did not “condone'' torture. But she appeared to concede for the first time that the Bush administration's uncompromising policy of “rendition'' against terrorist suspects had sometimes gone wrong.

11 December:The White House was forced into a U-turn on climate change after appearing to misjudge critically the international and domestic mood on its efforts to tackle global warming. After American delegates walked out of the United Nations climate change conference in Montreal over the wording of a draft statement calling for international co-operation on the issue, they signed a revised version after making only "trivial" changes. The change came after a well-received conference speech from former President Bill Clinton, in which he said that Mr. Bush's main reason for not joining Kyoto Protocol— that it would damage the U.S. economy — was "flat wrong".

22 December:The 9/11 Commission of the United States said that Taliban forces still operate freely in the Pakistani tribal areas and terrorists from Pakistan carry out operations in Kashmir. It urged the Bush Administration to pressure Islamabad to shut down Taliban linked religious institutions and shut down terrorist training camps.

26 December:American troops assisting in the relief and rehabilitation operations in Pak occupied Kashmir (PoK) and parts of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) would leave Pakistan in March 2006. There are over 1,000 American personnel in Pakistan engaged in relief and rehabilitation efforts in the quake hit zone. Besides over 1500 NATO troops are involved in the relief operations and they are expected to leave in February at the end of 90 days of stay.

Relations with India

9 February:India, the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) agreed to cooperate in the field of the security of radiological materials and for locating "orphan" radiological sources. An External Affairs Ministry statement said a joint delegation of representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy and the IAEA visited India for the first India-U.S.-IAEA meeting on the Regional Radiological Security Partnership (RRSP) programme.

10 February: The U.S. aerospace major, Lockheed Martin, through its regional vice-president, Dennys Plessas, told presspersons at the Aero India 2005 that it had secured the export licence from the American Government for the sale of P-3C Orion, the maritime surveillance aircraft, and the C-130 J `Hercules,' to India.

25 March:An official statement said that Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, conveyed India's "great disappointment" at the American decision to transfer F-16 fighter aircraft to Pakistan which according to him could have negative consequences for India's security environment.

30 March: The New York Times in an editorial titled "Fuel for South Asia's Arms Race", criticised the Bush administration's decision to supply F-16 aircraft to Pakistan and offer F-16s/F-18s to India, saying that this would encourage the two countries to engage in a new, American-fuelled arms race.

14 April: India and the United States signed a landmark agreement, permitting any number of airlines to operate any number of flights to any point in each other's territory. The historic agreement was signed by the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Praful Patel, and the visiting U.S. Transportation Secretary, Norman Y. Mineta.

29 April: India suffered "hundreds" of attacks from both domestic and foreign terrorists in 2004 but security forces were becoming increasingly effective, especially in Kashmir, "where the level of terrorist violence declined," says the U.S. Country Report on Terrorism. Stressing that India "remains an important ally" in the global war on terrorism, the report takes note of the expanded cooperative counter-terrorism training of the U.S. with the Indian military during 2004 and the various Defence and State Department training programmes dealing with law enforcement.

28 June: India and the United States initialled a new framework for defence relationship, providing opportunities in areas such as technology transfer, co-production and research and development. The visiting Defence Minister, Pranab Mukherjee, and his American counterpart, Donald Rumsfeld, signed the "new framework for the U.S.-India defence relationship for the next ten years."

18 July: U.S. President George Bush lavished praise on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, describing him as the "leader of one of the greatest democracies and a man committed to peace and liberty." The comment came at a press interaction after their extensive talks at the Oval Office in the White House of the two leaders.

18 July: In a move that recognises India as a nuclear weapons state for all practical purposes but stops short of declaring it as one, the United States committed itself to working for “full civil nuclear energy cooperation'' with India, including both direct and third party supplies of fuel for the safeguarded reactors at Tarapur. In return for such recognition and restrictions-free cooperation, India has committed itself to separating civilian and military nuclear facilities and placing its civilian nuclear reactors voluntarily under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards. In the Joint Statement issued with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, President Bush referred to India as “a responsible state with advanced nuclear technology."

19 July: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his address to the joint session of the United States Congress, said India and the U.S. must make common cause against terrorism whose rise was threatening open societies more than ever before.

2 August: Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee asserted in Parliament that the U.S. would not dictate implementation of any of the clauses in the new framework for the Indo-U.S. defence relationship.

3 August: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told the Lok Sabha that the Indo-U.S. joint statement of 18 July was not a departure from the basic tenets of the country's foreign policy. He denied there was any secret accord with the U.S. and said all that had been agreed to was included in the joint statement.

31 August: The United States removed six Indian nuclear and space facilities from its "entities list." This will remove export and re-export requirements for items unilaterally controlled by the U.S. for nuclear non-proliferation reasons to India.

14 September: United States President George Bush assured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that he remains "fully committed to the implementation" of the July 2005 India-U.S. civilian nuclear cooperation agreement. The "unambiguous" assurance was conveyed during a brief, "pull-aside" interaction between Mr. Bush and the Prime Minister, within hours of Dr. Singh landing in New York to attend the 60th session of the High-Level Plenary meetings of the Heads of State and Government at the United Nations.

28 September: The first phase of the India-U.S. naval exercise, Malabar 05, involving aircraft carriers of the two navies deployed in the Arabian Sea off the Goa coast, ended with the second and advanced phase of Malabar 05 slated to will begin on 29 September.

29 September: A perusal of the full transcript of the 8 September hearings into the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal conducted by the House International Relations Committee (HIRC) made it clear that for both the Congressmen and testifying State Department officials, India's Iran policy was key to the agreement. Mr. Tom Lantos said that “if our Indian friends are interested in receiving all of the benefits of U. S. support...we have every right to expect that India will reciprocate in taking into account our concerns...and without reciprocity, India will get very little help from the Congress..."

11 October: The Government of India's response to the United States' warning of possible terrorist attacks on American interests in New Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Mumbai has been "satisfactory" and in keeping with its stand against "terrorism," a U.S. Embassy spokesperson told The Hindu.

18 October: After 15 years of hard negotiation, India and the United States finally signed an umbrella agreement on cooperation in the field of science and technology in Washington. The pact was signed by Union Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

22 October: External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh told the United States Under Secretary of State, Nicholas Burns, that the loose ends to the 18 July nuclear agreement between Washington and New Delhi should be tied up before the U.S. President George W. Bush's visit in early 2006. Mr. Burns, during the meeting, reiterated his country's commitment to implementing the nuclear deal.

24 November:A Reuters report from Washington said: "Under Secretary of State R. Nicholas Burns, the U.S. negotiator on the nuclear deal, in September presented Indian officials with a blueprint suggesting how the Americans might go about separating the Indian nuclear facilities. But the Indians gave it back, saying they could do it themselves, a U.S. official and a source close to the [Bush] administration said."

25 November:Official sources said in New Delhi said India will be under "no compulsion" to separate its civil and nuclear facilities if it finds the process too complicated and expensive.

7 December:Expressing surprise at the remarks of a senior United States official to the effect that India had "assured" Washington that its energy deals with Iran were only "hypothetical" and "years away," Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said his Government had not provided any such assurances.

21 December:India and the United States began crucial talks on the landmark bilateral nuclear deal, with visiting Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran asserting that the separation of civilian and military sites should not affect New Delhi's strategic programme. Mr. Saran began his parleys after calling on U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the morning and followed it up with detailed discussions with Under Secretary of State, Political Affairs, Nicholas Burns, who is Bush administration's pointsman on the proposed civilian nuclear deal with India.

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