‘Pace, scope and character of dialogue, something only India, Pak can shape’, says US

October 29th, 2010 - 6:47 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Oct 29 (ANI): The United States will continue to back dialogue between India and Pakistan towards the resolution of their bilateral issues, but the “pace, scope and character” have ‘obviously’ to be decided by the two nations, the White House has said.

“We have always welcomed dialogue between India and Pakistan and certainly encouraged efforts to improve relations between those two very important countries,” US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns said.

“Obviously, the pace, scope and character of that dialogue is something that Indians and Pakistanis have to shape. But we’ll continue to both welcome and encourage it,” he added.

Burns was responding to a question whether Obama would talk privately or publicly about the longstanding Kashmir dispute and the tensions between India and Pakistan during his forthcoming visit to India.

When asked why Obama decided to go to Pakistan next year and not on this (India) trip, US Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said, “On this specific trip, again, we have a limited amount of time.We have hard dates in terms of summits that we’re attending in Seoul and in Japan. And we have a very robust program in India on the front end. And so he wanted to make sure we have the proper focus on that Pakistan trip when it does take place.”

“The President believes that the U.S. relationship with India and the U.S. relationship with Pakistan does not take place within any kind of zero sum dynamic. It’s often been viewed that way in the past, that if we become closer to one it’s at the expense of the other,”he said.

“And we’ve tried to send the signal that it’s the opposite with this administration; that, in fact, actually you see that borne out in the fact that we had a very successful strategic dialogue here, with the Pakistanis in town last week, discussing greater security cooperation in governance and economic issues,” Rhodes added.

He also said that the strategic dialogue “speaks to the fact that we’re cooperating closely with Pakistan just as this visit speaks to a deepening relationship with India.” (ANI)

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