India-Pak impasse unlikely to end soon: Pentagon

The current impasse in ties between India and Pakistan is unlikely to end soon given the fragile government in Islamabad, a top Pentagon has said.

Updated: Apr 13, 2011, 18:39 PM IST

Washington: The current impasse in ties
between India and Pakistan is unlikely to end soon given the
fragile government in Islamabad, which is overshadowed by
powerful military which heavily influences policies on Kashmir
and Afghanistan, a top Pentagon has said.

"And unquestionably, there remains a level of tension
across the border that is hard to impact," Admiral Richard
Willard, Commander of the US Pacific Command (PACOM), said
while testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The admiral told lawmakers that given the turmoil
Pakistan has been in for the last couple of years, it`s hard
to imagine that a fragile governance in Islamabad is going to
break the impasse in the ties.
The improvement, the US commander said, in
relationship between the two South Asian neighbours requires a
very high level of commitment, which seems to be unlikely at
present even after New Delhi`s effort in this regard.

"There are certainly dynamics between India and
Pakistan that are based on historical animosities ages old
that we`re all aware of. And Kashmir has often been a focal
point for those antagonism to play out," Willard said.

"The recent concerns in Kashmir that manifested both
in demonstrations within the valley have resulted in some of
the accusations that have gone back and forth regarding
Chinese presence in the region and so on, as well as terrorist
activity across the line of control, are making this
particular challenge acute for the moment," he noted.
"I think the Indians have made overtures to attempt to
work more closely, at least at the ministerial level, with
Pakistan in terms of ongoing discussions. But unquestionably,
there remains a level attention across that border that is
very hard to impact," Willard said.

Willard argued that it is important that the US
continue to work with both these partners very carefully and
thoughtfully in order to encourage them to come to the table.

"India has very firm views on this and are sometimes
quick to remind us that, in their view, is Kashmir is a
bilateral issue and theirs alone to deal with," he said.

"I think that the way in which we handle this
challenge, the way in which we deal with the two military, the
way in which we encourage their respective governments to
engage, very, very important, not just to India and to
Pakistan, two nuclear-powered countries, but to all of South
Asia and to the dynamic in Afghanistan that is of great
concern to us," Willard said.

Willard was responding to a question from Senator Kay
Hagan. "Securing Pakistani regional cooperation, while
placating India, is a difficult task. Pakistani officials seek
a long-term bilateral partnership with the US based on
regional vision conducive to Pakistanis` strategic interests,"
he said.

"That`s going to be difficult to develop as long as
there continues to be an India-Pakistani impasse on Kashmir.

Progress is possible as the US carefully reduces India`s
expectations for influence in Afghanistan, facilitates the
Pakistani movement to reduce its proxies in Afghanistan and
gets India and Pakistan to the negotiating table," he said.