PM links Kashmir to Pak terror, Obama sticks to script

PM said that India was willing to discuss Kashmir if Pak dismantled terror infra while Obama made it clear that US was in no hurry to interfere.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: In his first comment on the Kashmir issue, President Barack Obama on Monday made it clear that US won’t interfere in the Kashmir until and unless both the countries solicit it, while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that India is not afraid to discuss the word ‘K’.

Obama said, “With respect to Kashmir, it is a long standing dispute between India and Pakistan. Both Pakistan and India have an interest in reducing tensions,” adding that the US
cannot impose solutions to these problems.

“I indicated to Prime Minister Singh that that I am happy
to play any role the two parties may want to reduce tensions
between the two countries,” he said.

Obama went on to say that his hope is that “conversations” take place between the two countries even if they do not include the flashpoint issue of Kashmir and start with other confidence building measures.

Lauding Manmohan Singh for his efforts to bring down tensions between the two countries, Obama said that I have always known that the Prime Minister throughout his career and prime ministership has tried to reduce tensions with Pakistan. And he is sincere and relentless in his desire for peace between the countries.

The Prime Minister, on the other hand, was more forthright about his opinion on the Kashmir issue and Pakistan’s support to terror.

“I have always maintained that a strong, peaceful and moderate Pakistan is in interest of India, South Asia and the world. We are committed to engage Pakistan and resolve all issues including the word ‘K’, we are not afraid of that,” he said.

But he maintained that, “You cannot be talking and simultaneously have the terror machine as active as before. As soon as Pakistan moves away from terror induced coercion, we will be happy to talk to them,” he added.