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`India, Pak have to resolve issues for stability in S Asia`

There can be no stability in South Asia until issues between India and Pakistan are resolved, a top US official has said.



Washington: There can be no stability in South Asia until issues between India and Pakistan are resolved, a top US official has said.

Responding to questions from Senators on the relationship between India and Pakistan and its impact on the region, Defence Secretary Leon Panetta told the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee that Pakistan would have to make a much larger effort to resolve differences with India.

"India has in some ways resisted engaging as well. I think both sides need to kind of roll up their sleeves and get to work on this. It`s tough politically in both areas. But in the end, we are never going to achieve stability in that region until the issues between Pakistan and India are resolved," he said in response to a question from Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, both Panetta and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, mentioned the confluence of India and their impact in the region.

"One of the things that we heard from the leadership in Pakistan was their efforts or their overtures to try and reduce tensions with India. How much of that do you think is real and has the potential to have a real impact, and how much of it is show and not going to have any real impact?" Shaheen had questioned.

"I think it is real. I think they are making an effort at trying to see if they can find a way to resolve the issues between Pakistan and India. And, they`ve made efforts at that. I think what has to happen is that they really do have to make this a higher priority. They`ve got to really focus on this.

"I think in terms of the security of Pakistan if they could find a way to resolve their differences with India, that country would be a different country. But to do that, to
achieve that, I really do think that they have to put a much larger effort into trying to resolve those differences with India," Panetta said.

In his testimony, Mullen said the United States should help create more stakeholders in Pakistan`s prosperity, help the Pakistani people address their economic, political and internal security challenges, and promote Indian-Pakistani
cooperation on the basis of true sovereign equality.

PTI

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