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US will not mediate between India, Pak: Rao
Published on 17 Jan. 2010 11:53 PM IST
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Ahead of US special envoy Richard Holbrooke’s talks with Indian officials Monday, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has said US President Barack Obama has assured New Delhi that he has no desire to play a mediatory role in resolving the Kashmir issue. “President Obama and the American Administration told us over and over again that they have no desire to play a mediatory role on issues concerning India and Pakistan,” Rao told Karan Thapar in The Devil’s Advocate aired on CNN-IBN Sunday night. She was responding to a question on whether Obama was looking to play a more assertive role in sorting out Kashmir than India would be willing to accept. Rao also ruled out any chances of Washington linking Kashmir to unrest in Afghanistan, a position that Islamabad is trying to hardsell to Washington. “I am not worried about that because the US is fully sensitised to our concerns on these issues. They consulted us closely in the run up to the Af-Pak strategy’s formulation and we continue to remain in close touch with our American interlocutors on this,” she said. America is well aware of India’s approach to these issues, our concerns about terrorism emanating from Pakistan, our desire to see a secure and stable Afghanistan; and that will involve tackling the sources of terrorism in our region,” Rao said. “And America understands that Pakistan continues to provide safe haven to a number of terrorists operating in our region,” she added. When asked about the possibilities of the US re-hyphenating its relationship with Pakistan and India, Rao said: “The logic of the relationship and the logic of the times defies your assessment. There is no question of this relationship being re-hyphenated, as you say,” Rao said. “Our relationship with the US is a mature relationship. It is one of the defining partnerships of the times as President Obama said so eloquently during our prime minister’s visit,” she added. Terror infrastructure unharmed in Pak Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has said Pakistan “needs to do much more” to address India’s concerns over continuing cross-border terror before dialogue can resume between the two neighbours. When asked about the recent spate of terrorist attacks, rockets attacks and repeated firing across the international border in Kashmir from the Pakistan side, Rao said that Pakistani groups are involved, possibly with support from the Pakistani authorities. “Terrorism directed against India continues from territory under Pakistan control and from Pakistan,” Rao told Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN’s show Devil’s Advocate. “All the events you have seen over the last few days basically point to the basic and undeniable fact that the infrastructure of terrorism which operates out of Pakistan and territory under Pakistan control has not been dismantled...,” she said. “...and it continues to be directed against the Indian people. It affects ordinary people,” she added. “Look at what has been happening in Srinagar over the last few weeks. Look at the incidents of infiltration that have gone up despite the fact that this is cold weather,” she said. “In winter traditionally we have not had so many incidents of infiltration, but those continue. They clearly point to the continuation of efforts directed against our territory, directed in order to foment violence in Kashmir and terrorist incidents,” Rao said. She indicated that the recent attack at Lal Chowk in Srinagar and increased cross-border incursions are being directed with support from elements in Pakistan. “Let me put it this way. I think the experience over the last two decades would make it very clear to us that this has been an instrument of state policy which has been pursued by agencies within Pakistan,” she replied when asked about the involvement of Pakistani agencies in these attacks. “We have very little or no evidence to suggest otherwise,” she added. Critical of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s assertion that his government is committed to fulfilling his father-in-law Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s pledge for a thousand-year war to “liberate” Kashmir, Rao said militancy and violence in Kashmir has been accompanied by rhetoric directed against India and all forms and means of propaganda that comes across from the Pakistan side. “So, rhetoric, militancy and violence, together they make a very combustible combination,” she said, adding that it poisons people’s minds. Asserting that India has never turned its back on dialogue, Rao said that terrorism affects the climate of dialogue and the progress of this dialogue. “And when Pakistan refers to the need to resume composite dialogue, we say you have to create the right atmosphere for that dialogue to move forward,” she said.

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