Obama won`t push India on Pakistan strategy: Report

Last Updated: Saturday, November 6, 2010 - 13:42

New York: US President Barack Obama will
quietly encourage India to cool tensions with Pakistan and
not push New Delhi to change its strategy towards its
neighbour, a major US daily reported on Saturday.

US officials predicted that Obama "will quietly
encourage India`s leaders to do what they can to cool tensions
between these nuclear-armed neighbours," The New York Times
reported even though some US officials believed that New
Delhi`s "Cold Start" military strategy fueled tension between
the two neighbours.

"That would be a victory for India, which denies the
very existence of Cold Start, a plan to deploy new ground
forces that could strike inside Pakistan quickly in the event
of a conflict," the report said.

Obama will hold wide-ranging discussions with Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Monday.

The Cold Start strategy involves creating "fast-moving
battle groups that could deliver a contained but sharp
retaliatory ground strike inside Pakistan within three days of
suffering a terrorist attack by militants based in Pakistan,
yet not do enough damage to set off a nuclear confrontation."

"There are people in the administration who want us to
engage India positively," said an administration official,
speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Gen David H Petraeus, the top commander in
Afghanistan, is among those who have warned internally about
the dangers of Cold Start, NYT quoted American and Indian
officials as saying.

Adm Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, and Richard C Holbrooke, the special representative to
Afghanistan and Pakistan, share these fears, it said.

NYT pointed out that Pakistan uses the existence of
"Cold Start" as a justification for not redeploying forces
away from the border with India to fight against militants on
the Af-Pak border, and this was repeated by Pakistan`s army
chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani during his visit to the US
last month.

The matter was also raised during the visit of Prime
Minister Singh who told the Obama administration that India
had no plans to attack Pakistan and the subject did not merit
discussion during Obama`s visit.

Analysts also pointed out that Cold Start had been
overblown by Pakistan, which was using it as an excuse not to
fight the extremists in its backyard.

"The Pakistanis will use everything they can to delay
or drag out doing a serious reorientation of their military,"
said Stephen P Cohen, an expert on South Asia at the Brookings
Institution.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, November 6, 2010 - 13:42

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