US keeping ‘great regional power’ India fully informed: envoy

May 13th, 2009 - 11:42 am ICT by IANS  

Richard Holbrooke By Arun Kumar
Washington, May 13 (IANS) US is keeping India, “a great regional power”, fully informed about its Pakistan strategy as it works with Islamabad to shift its focus from India to the insurgent threat on its western frontier.

“My job is with regard to Afghanistan and Pakistan… In all steps in the process we keep the Indians fully informed,” US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, said at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Tuesday on the US policy for Pakistan.

“India is a great regional power. I have a great respect for India,” he said, noting New Delhi itself has a deep interest in the region and has a key role to play in resolving the crisis in its neighbourhood.

Holbrooke said he had already held consultations with the new Indian ambassador to the US, Meera Shankar, but would not say what were US expectations from India.

“The Pakistani Army has traditionally been arrayed in a conventional deployment in the east, against India,” he said.

“We must work with Pakistan so that it has the resources and training to recalibrate from its current conventional threat posture to one that addresses the insurgent threat on its western frontier.”

“Successfully shutting down the Pakistani safe haven for extremists will require consistent and intensive strategic engagement with Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership,” Holbrooke said.

The envoy said it was vital to strengthen US efforts to both develop and enable Pakistani security forces - both the military and law enforcement - so they are capable of carrying out sustained counter-insurgency operations.

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