Biden delivered a speech on Pakistan Thursday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In what his campaign called a major foreign policy address, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden Thursday warned of dire consequences should extremists take control in Pakistan, and said the United States must adjust its policy in the region to ensure moderates have more influence.
"Pakistan has strong democratic traditions and a large, moderate majority," the senator from Delaware said in a speech at New Hampshire's Institute of Politics. "But that moderate majority must have a voice in the system and an outlet with elections."
"If not, moderates may find that they have no choice but to make common cause with extremists, just as the Shah’s opponents did in Iran three decades ago," Biden said. "But unlike Iran, Pakistan already has nuclear weapons."
The U.S. policy toward Pakistan has become a hot topic on the campaign trail since Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency last weekend, effectively suspending the country's constitution and strengthening executive power.
Musharraf has insisted the declaration was a necessary step in the country's fight against terrorism and will not derail its slow progress toward democracy. But opposition leaders accuse him of moving to shut down the judiciary just as the Supreme Court was set to nullify the parliamentary vote that gave him a third term.
In his speech Thursday, Biden said, "We’ve got to move from a policy concentrated on one man - President Musharraf - to a policy centered on an entire people, the people of Pakistan.
Biden is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and often touts his foreign policy credentials on the campaign trail. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who promotes his record of engaging in international diplomacy, also spoke at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics Thursday.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney