Washington: Observing that India and Pakistan
have a complex history characterised by "animosity, mistrust,
and conflict", a top Pentagon official has warned that there
is a potential of a nuclear exchange between them if Islamabad
continues to support terror groups against the neighbouring
"Support by elements of Pakistan`s military and
intelligence services for violent extremist organisations
targeting India has the potential to result in military
confrontation that could rapidly escalate to a nuclear
exchange," James Miller said in written answers submitted to
the Senate Armed Services Committee during a confirmation
hearing for the post of Undersecretary of Defence for Policy.
He noted that India and Pakistan have "a long and complex
history characterised by animosity, mistrust, and conflict".
Current efforts at dialogue through a renewed
comprehensive dialogue have yielded few concrete results on
the core security issues, especially regarding the resolution
of territorial disputes, Miller said.
However, the efforts have increased people-to-people
exchanges and trade relations between the two nations, and
have provided each side greater insight into the other`s
positions, he said.
"Although progress is slow, the trajectory is positive
and offers the promise of increased confidence-building
measures," Miller said.
He said India`s actions in South and Central Asia
generally align with US goals: increasing economic growth and
political stability through strengthened democratic
institutions, and developmental assistance to help prevent
Regional stability ultimately depends on cooperation
among India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, he asserted.
"Transparency in the India-Afghanistan and
Pakistan-Afghanistan bilateral relationships is critical to
reduce misunderstanding and mistrust between India and
Pakistan," he told the lawmakers.
"The ongoing transition of lead responsibility for
security in Afghanistan to Afghan forces, and the strategic
partnerships Afghanistan has been negotiating with the United
States and other international partners are important steps
toward demonstrating long-term commitment of the international
community, addressing conditions that create uncertainty, and
stabilising the region," Miller said.