Washington: Strongly refuting the
Pakistani claim that India has no role in Afghanistan, new US
Commander General David Petraeus has said that New Delhi has a
legitimate interest in the region.
"India has legitimate interests in this region," Gen
Petraeus said in response to a question at his confirmation
hearing for the US and NATO in Afghanistan before the Senate
Armed Services Committee.
The Senate Armed Services Committee later in the day
confirmed him by a voice vote. His nomination now goes to the
full Senate for confirmation.
Currently Commander of the US Central Command,
Petraeus was nominated as the new US Commander for Afghanistan
after Gen Stanley McChrystal was sacked from the post
following the appearance of his interview in the Rolling Stone
magazine in which he was highly critical of the Obama
Petraeus` remarks on India came in response to a
question from Senator Kay Hagan who said that it`s has been
reported that Pakistan wants to be a channel to the Pashtuns
in Afghanistan and wants to utilize reconciliation as the
mechanism to influence Afghanistan and overt Indian regional
"How will you work with the Afghan government and
military to manage Pakistan`s strategic interests?" he asked.
"We can certainly facilitate that dialogue,
participate in the dialogue, be perhaps an honest broker in
that dialogue. We are friends to both. We are enormously
enabling both, you know, Pakistan is in a tough fight," he
"One if its fights, by the way, is to keep our lines
of communication open. You enable us to provide substantial
amounts of coalition support funding to them, well over USD 1
billion for the course of the past fiscal and calendar year,
and then another somewhere well up into hundreds of millions
in foreign military financing and other mechanisms, plus the
USD 1.5 billion of Kerry-Lugar-Berman for each of the next
five years," Petraeus said.
"That`s very important, and that`s a symbol, again, of
our sustained, substantial commitment. It shows that we do not
want to do to them what we did after Charlie Wilson`s war,
which was having achieved the outcome that we wanted, washed
our hands of it, and left. And I think it`s very important,"
"They`ve seen that movie before, as well. I think it`s
very important that they realize that we are in this with
them, with both of them, and, by the way, with India, as well.
India has legitimate interests in this region, without
question, as do others, if you want to extend it further,"
"So I think we can facilitate that. This would be
again, a civil-military effort very much. But we`ll use those
relationships that we have developed to that end," he said.