Focus on Kashmir may dampen India-US relations, says expert

December 20th, 2008 - 4:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Dec 20 (IANS) The prospect of keeping Kashmir as the focal point of India-US relations will be a negative strategy, a top analyst said here Saturday. “Kashmir is still a problem and India needs to deliberate on that. But putting that as the central issue in the relationship between the two countries will be a wrong approach. India will never accept an independent Kashmir,” said Stephen P. Cohen, senior fellow, The Brookings Institution.

Speaking at the PanIIT 2008, a conference of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) alumni being held at IIT Madras, Cohen said: “It is unlikely that the US would jump in and tell India what to do in Kashmir. India has to discuss with China relating the Kashmir solution.”

He said though the US president George Bush and the president elect Barack Obama view India through different prisms, both like India.

According to him, the Bush administration viewed India as a strategic power to contain the ascendance of China while Obama is of the view that the real terror problem to be tackled is in Afghanistan and not Iraq and looks at India to assist in containing the problem there.

He said India and the US have to work together on the issues of water, AIDS, science, technology and education.

Referring to the recent Mumbai terror attacks by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives, he said the issue has brought Pakistan’s role in assisting terror outfits to the centre stage.

The LeT has succeeded in bringing out Pakistan’s support to terror outfits, something the Indian government has failed to convince the world for a long time. Twenty two people of different nationalities have got killed in Mumbai, Cohen pointed out.

According to him, the US will have to think twice in taking action against Pakistan. Majority of its supplies to Afghanistan is routed through Pakistan and the latter can turn a screw on that.

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