Amid reports of the Barack Obama administration planning to appoint a special envoy for India and Pakistan,outgoing US Ambassador David C Mulford has said Washington should not “insert” itself as a “referee” between the two South Asian countries.
“I think the two sides (India and Pakistan) should be encouraged but the United States should not insert itself as the manager or the referee of the process,” Mulford told Karan Thapar in ‘Devil’s Advocate’ programme.
When referred to reports that a special envoy might be appointed by the incoming Obama administration,he said,”that issue is going to be addressed by other people. I don’t think that is going to happen”.
He,however,said,”I think the foreign policy which has encouraged both the sides to talk without inserting United States in the middle has been the right thing to do. The Bush approach has been successful. It has produced good results.”
The Ambassador’s comments came in the midst of reports that the next US administration may appoint former diplomat Richard C Holbrooke as a special envoy for India and Pakistan.
Describing Kashmir as a “very special problem” which has to be solved by India and Pakistan by themselves,Mulford said he had spent five years de-hyphenating the relationship between the two countries.
Mulford said there are “sensitivities” involved in the Kashmir issue,”But accepting that although the United States pushed both the sides and although the peace initiative bore results,this is a problem for India and Pakistan to solve”.
On being given an extension here,the Ambassador said he was delighted after he was asked to continue in his position in India after the Obama administration takes over.
“Here in this post,they want to see whether it is possible for me to continue. The decision on their part is a tribute to India and their sensitivity than to me,” he said. “I decided it would be a good thing,so I accepted.”