Washington: Ruling out once again a US role in resolving either Kashmir or water issues between India and Pakistan, a senior official has said it was for the two countries to work things out.
"It`s like water. Kashmir always comes up in everything," assistant secretary of state For South And Central Asian affairs Robert Blake told reporters on Thursday in a briefing about his recent trip to India, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"So it`s very prominent. But again, that`s something that the two countries are going to have to work out," he said when asked if Kashmir issue had come up during his talks in the context of his objective to improve relations between the two South Asian neighbours.
Noting "both countries have made quite a lot of progress in the period between 2004 and 2007," he said the suggestion it`s impossible for India and Pakistan to make progress is "simply not true".
Both "countries have made significant progress during that period. And in fact, there`s the blueprint for some sort of agreement on Kashmir, if they choose to endorse that," Blake said. "But again... that it`s really up to India and Pakistan to decide how to move forward on that."
On the water issue too, Blake said "again, we`re not going to get involved in bilateral issues related to water, because I think the World Bank is the best mechanism for that.
"But I do believe that if asked, that the United States could help both sides with respect to water supply and again how to make better use of the existing water supply, how to make more efficient use of it, how to increase water storage, rainwater harvesting, a lot of those kind of techniques," he said.
Blake said he had told his interlocutors in Islamabad "that if Pakistan believes that India is violating the Indus Waters Treaty, then Pakistan should avail itself of the opportunity to submit whatever grievances it has to the independent arbitration panel that has been set up by the Indus Waters Treaty."