Applauding India’s efforts in rebuilding the post-Taliban Afghanistan,the Obama Administration has said it had “actively consulted” New Delhi during the comprehensive review of its Afghan-Pakistan policy.
“The US has actively consulted India while developing its strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher told a group of South Asian reporters in Washington on Saturday.
“I think,we had very good consultations with India so far and we hope to work closely with them as we go forward,” he said,adding New Delhi has been very positive and active when it comes to Afghanistan.
Boucher noted that Richard Holbrooke,the Special US Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan,had made a trip to New Delhi and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon had come to Washington during this review process.
He also praised India’s efforts in the redevelopment of Afghanistan,post-Taliban. “India has been a major donor and has done some very good work in Afghanistan,” he said.
Replying to a question,Boucher said: “As far as any rivalry between India and Pakistan,I think,quite contrary,this strategy makes us possible for all of us to really deal with the counter-terrorist strategy in the region,which effects India and Pakistan alike.”
The Assistant Secretary of State said the US has always supported efforts by Indians and Pakistanis themselves to reduce tensions and “we will continue to support whatever steps they agree upon.”
Boucher said it is important for Pakistan to focus on its western border,where the terrorism comes from.
His remarks follow President Barack Obama’s announcement about creating a new Contact Group for Afghanistan and Pakistan,which would include all the major stake holders and key global and regional players including India and Iran.
“Together with the United Nations,we will forge a new contact group for Afghanistan and Pakistan that brings together all who should have a stake in the security of the region. Our NATO Allies and other partners,the Central Asian states,the Gulf nations,Iran,Russia,India and China,” Obama said.
None of these nations benefit from a base for al-Qaeda terrorists and a region that descends into chaos. “All have a stake in the promise of lasting peace and security and development,” he said.