US legislators, experts call for continuous support to Indo-Pak peace process

November 14th, 2007 - 2:05 am ICT by admin  
Washington’s relationships with both countries are “incredibly important”, they told at a congressional hearing on Pakistan.

“We’ve come a long way in terms of encouraging an Indo-Pak peace process, both relationships (for US) are incredibly important, but for very different reasons. … The Indo-Pak peace process is fundamental to overall regional stability and it impacts the situation even in Afghanistan. So for that reason, we can’t take our eye off the ball in continuing to encourage those talks,” Lisa Curtis, a senior analyst at the Heritage Foundation said.

Curtis said this while replying to a question posed by Congressman Phil Gingrey as to what could the US “do to try to help these two countries get along better with each other” at the Armed Services Committee of the House of Representative testimony on US-Pakistan relations.

“I think there is interest in continuing the peace process, but certainly the US should not put this issue on the backburner,” Duncan Hunter, Republican Congressman from California said.

He also lauded Pakistan’s progress on its eastern border with India.

“Tensions between the two countries have noticeably decreased due to confidence-building measures. And Pakistan and India are both committed to taking steps toward resolving the historical animosity that exists over Kashmir,” the Daily Times quoted him, as saying.

Democrat Carol Shea Porter requested Curtis to elaborate her comment that “India was trying to gain influence in Afghanistan, or it was a Pakistani perception …, that they were being encircled.”

Responding to this Curtis, said, the need is to “look at the issue (of stabilising Afghanistan) to a certain extent from Pakistan’s perspective and understand their security perceptions of the region” and understand their historical animosity with India.

Commenting on Pakistan’s concern over Indo-Afghan relations, she said there is some insecurity on Islamabad’s part, about that. We just need to understand the “relationship between the Indian Government and the Afghan Government.”

On the US role in improving Pak-Afghan relations, Curtis said Washington has to “get more proactively involved in facilitating better overall relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, at the same time as between Pakistan and India.”

Husain Haqqani, associate professor of International Relations at Boston University, drew the attention of American legislators to the need to ensure that US had an influential role to play in bringing Pakistan and Afghanistan and Pakistan and India continued to move along the peace path. (ANI)

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