Resolving Kashmir key to stability in S Asia: Mullen

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 23, 2009 - 11:22

Washington: Resolving the Kashmir issue
between India and Pakistan is key to stability in South Asia,
where all terror groups including al-Qaeda, Taliban, LeT and
JeM are "working much more closely together" now than a year
ago, top US military commander Mike Mullen has said.

"I actually believe that the challenges that exist tied
to the border in Kashmir are key to solving that or moving
forward on that are critical in terms of the overall stability
of the region," Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chief
of Staff, said.
"So there`s not one easy answer to any part of this but
that is a key, and I think it`s -- again, we all have
responsibilities with respect to moving forward in a way that
de-tensions the area, stabilises the area and doesn`t
continuously give fertile ground for extremists and terrorists
to continue to kill innocent people," he told a group of
Pakistani journalists during his recent visit to Islamabad.

Arguing the case for a regional strategy, Mullen said:
"It`s not focused on just one country -- and that there are
significant issues between India and Pakistan that have
existed for some time."

"I have said publicly before I think it`s important that
these be addressed -- that political leadership and
international leadership, if you will, but in particular,
political leadership of the two countries, step forward to
address this issue," he said, according to transcripts of the
press round-table made available here.

US Ambassador to Pakistan, Ann Patterson, also said the
Obama Administration is encouraging both Pakistan and India to
resume the composite dialogue, which was really showing great
success and promise until the attacks in Mumbai last year.
"I don`t think it`s any secret that Pakistan and India
had made very significant success and made a lot of progress
in resolving some of these issues in 2007. And the United
States, and frankly every other country, is very hopeful that
these engagements will resume again soon," Patterson said.

Mullen said it is very clear to him that all the
terrorist organisations in the region have come together than
they used to be a year ago.

"Whether it`s Pakistan Taliban and al-Qaeda, or
al-Qaeda/Afghan Taliban, LeT, JeM -- they`re all working
much more closely together.

"So I think it doesn`t accurately reflect the need or the
strategy to single out one group or another. They`re very much
all in this in ways, together, that they weren`t as recently
as 12 months ago," he said.


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