Kashmir not on Holbrooke’s agenda on trip to India

February 5th, 2009 - 10:16 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Feb 5 (IANS) Reiterating that Kashmir was never part of US special envoy Richard Holbrooke’s portfolio, the US has said he will travel to India as part of his mission to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan.”India is an important country in the region and has interest in Afghanistan. And he wants to hear from the Indian government in terms of how we can all better contribute to peace and stability in Afghanistan,” State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters Wednesday.

Holbrooke will visit Pakistan, Afghanistan and India after a security conference in Germany this week, and “he’ll stay there as long as he feels he needs to,” Wood said.

The envoy left for London Wednesday on Way to Munich. “Then from there he will head to Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, in that order,” he said, adding that Holbrooke told him “in essence this is an orientation trip”.

“He’s not going there to lecture, he’s going there to listen. And then he will report back to the secretary (of State Hillary Clinton) and the president (Barack Obama),” he added.

Asked if Holbrooke was planning on bringing up the Kashmir issue in New Delhi, he said: “Kashmir was never part of his portfolio” making it clear “he’s dealing with Afghanistan-Pakistan.”

“He is going to the region, and his portfolio, as I said, is to deal with Afghanistan-Pakistan,” Wood said when asked why was he not travelling to Russia too since there is reported to be a new agreement with the US about transit route through Russia to Afghanistan.

“And he’s going to India because India is an important player in that region, and that’s his itinerary,” he said explaining Holbrooke’s reasons for visiting New Delhi when India is not part of his portfolio.

Holbrooke, well known for his role in brokering the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995 to end the armed conflicts in Bosnia, was named by Obama Jan 22 as special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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