Relationship with India and Pakistan not triangular: US
By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON: The United States does not have a “triangular relationship” with India and Pakistan and, as such, would not like to be seen “inserting” itself as “some kind of mediator,” according to State Department spokesman Richard Boucher.
He was answering questions at his daily briefing prior to the thanksgiving holiday.
Mr Boucher said, “We are not a manager in a US-India-Pakistan relationship. We have relationships with two governments, two countries. Each of those relationships is important to us. We want to develop each of those relationships, and in that process we want to encourage them to deal with each other on the issues that are of concern. That is why we have always stressed a dialogue between the two countries themselves as the best route to address issues that are of concern to them, including Kashmir.”
Asked if Washington had played any role in bringing about the ceasefire along the Line of Control announced by Pakistani Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali and positively responded to by India, the State Department official replied, “We have certainly kept in touch with both governments. We have welcomed the statements that have been made, the announcement by, I guess, the Pakistani Prime Minister first, and then the response, the very productive and constructive response from India. The Secretary (Secretary of State Colin Powell) has kept in touch with the parties. He spoke by telephone with the Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers. In those phone calls he welcomed their decisions to observe a ceasefire along the Line of Control in Kashmir and the Siachen Glacier area as well. We think this — these steps toward peace offer hope for real progress in the region.””
Mr Boucher said the US had stated on earlier occasions that “greater engagement” between India and Pakistan can lead to a resolution of their differences, “including moving toward a permanent end of their conflict. So we hope these measures that have been announced, and now implemented, are also followed by the implementation of steps to improve people-to-people ties. They are talking about communications and transportation links between India and Pakistan. And we look forward to the early implementation of all those steps that they have announced and talked about.”
In answer to the question if Mr Powell had raised with Pakistan during his phone call Indian concern about a cross-border movement of fighters from Pakistan into Indian-held Kashmir, the spokesman said, “They have certainly discussed — the secretary has discussed with both sides the terms of the ceasefire that is being implemented now. But II’d say the emphasis has been on the implementation of the measures that they have announced, including the ceasefire, and we have certainly welcomed the announcements and now we welcome the implementation that is going on.”