Washington: A de-hyphenated and better American ties with both India and Pakistan could be helpful in improving relationship between the two South Asian neighbours, a top US official has said.
"We hope that if we build a good, positive relationship with both (India and Pakistan), that will provide a context that may make it easier for the two of them to have a better relationship with each other," Deputy Secretary of State Jim Steinberg said.
"We certainly don`t want to overstate it but I think the recent agreement by the two Prime Ministers to go forward with their dialogue is obviously something welcome," Steinberg said earlier this week at the Council in Foreign Relations, a Washington-based think tank.
Responding to a question, as to how the US balances its relationship between the two South Asian countries, Steinberg said from the US perspective, the key is to deal with the two relationships in parallel way.
"Whatever the issues are between them, that we can`t let our judgement about what is the best relationship for the United States bilaterally with India and bilaterally with Pakistan be determined by the views of the other about what that is," he said, adding this fundamental idea of de-hyphenating the relationship is at the core of a successful strategy.
Acknowledging the fact that there would be differences and clash of interests between the two countries, Steinberg said that the US` should not "refuse to deal with one because the first is against it," as the response is "symmetrical".
"I think over time, as both countries understand that we`re building the relationship, we build trust, we build depth and breadth to those relationships, it becomes easier to tolerate those places where they still see it in the zero sum way with each other," the Deputy Secretary said.
Steinberg was in India last month to prepare for the Indo-US Strategic Dialogue, which is scheduled to be held early next month.