US hopes Indo-Pak talks blossom into `full-blown` discussion

Acknowledging India`s "legitimate concerns" about terrorism emanating from Pakistan, the US has hoped the Indo-Pak talks would "blossom into a full-blown discussion" to resolve issues like Kashmir.

Last Updated: Jun 06, 2010, 14:23 PM IST

Washington: Acknowledging India`s "legitimate concerns" about terrorism emanating from Pakistan, the US has hoped the Indo-Pak talks would "blossom into a full-blown
discussion" to resolve issues like Kashmir and offered to be a handy and helpful "interlocutor" if the two sides desired so.

"I think that is a legitimate concern," US National
Security Adviser James Jones told a news agency, when asked about Indian
concerns about terrorism emanating from the Pakistani soil
that is targeted against India.

"I would even actually go beyond that I think, whether it
is Pakistan or any other country in the 21st century, if a
country wants to have a serious progressive position in the
world where their economy develops, where their society
develops and the instruments of governance are strong, you
have to reject all forms of terrorism," he said.

Encouraged by the decision of Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani to
resume their peace talks, he said the US is offering
assistance in this regard based on what both the countries
would like.

"We take the direction from India and Pakistan to try to
be interlocutor that is handy and helpful. But basically, this
has to be done by the Indian and Pakistani authorities. In
whatever way we can be helpful, we are happy to help," he
said.

"We know that there are certain things that must be done,
in order to bring about any kind of a long-term resolution and
that`s why bilaterally with Pakistan, we are focusing on
problems of terrorism," Jones asserted.

He was in particular highly appreciative of the
leadership of the Prime Minister.

"I think that the Prime Minister has shown great courage
and leadership by pulling troops from the Pakistani border.
We realise that there is a political cost for him. And we
admire that gesture," he said.

"He has been patient in supporting the talks that have
started. So I actually think, we are not in a position to give
India advice. I think, if we can be in a position to be
helpful in some ways that is how I would characterise our
position right now," Jones said when asked what the US would
like India to do in terms of improving ties with Pakistan.

When referred to Pakistan`s wish list to the US on
resolving the Kashmir issue, as was widely reported in the
mainstream US media early this year, Jones said: "It would be
wrong to think that the United States is going to be able to
come up with a formula for it that somehow can be dropped down
on the two countries."

Getting the two countries to talk is the first step and
any long-term resolution has to come from the two South Asian
neighbours, he said.

"So our hope is that these initial talks (between India
and Pakistan) would blossom into a full blown discussion and
that the more sensitive topics can eventually be addressed,"
Jones said.

"We think that we can be helpful regionally by being
successful in Afghanistan, by commencing and helping Pakistan
to overcome the scourge of terrorist activity within their
borders and by doing what we can to help build trust and
confidence between Pakistan and India," he said.

There are problems between India and Pakistan that need
to be addressed and tensions and suspicions that existed for
long time between the two countries need to be removed, he
said.

"It is easy to say, it is not easy to do, but at some
point, you have to get to the starting point and we are
hopeful that these discussions are there," Jones said.

The US National Security Adviser also acknowledged the growing threat from Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).

"Lashkar-e-Toiba is a threat to all of us. It is a
terrorist organisation, originally focused on India, but has
developed capacities and demonstrated capacities to operate in
other areas in Afghanistan and shows signs of being a big
threat," he said.

"It is an example of everything that I have been talking
about, something that has to be addressed. And part and parcel
of my visit to Pakistan was to re-emphasise that terrorism in
any form has to be rejected," said Jones, who visited Pakistan
last month along with CIA Director Leon Panetta following
investigations which revealed that Pakistani Taliban was
behind the failed Times Square bombing.

He said he carried a message to Islamabad on behalf of
President Barack Obama that "we are pleased with their actions
(against Taliban and al Qaeda) today, but there has to be
more."

"I am not asking them to do everything all at once, but
for a clear commitment that all aspects of terrorism whether
they are directed towards India or the United States or
Afghanistan or any other country in the world that have an
existence within their borders have to be eliminated for their
own good, for their own future, for their own relationships
and I am optimistic that they will be moving in the right
direction," Jones said.

Asked if he sees Pakistan sensitive to India`s concerns
in this regard and if stronger actions against terror groups
are forthcoming in the weeks and months ahead, Jones said:
"Well, I can`t predict what is going to happen in the short
time frame, but I think, the logic of the message speaks
for itself, I am very happy to see that there is some dialogue
between Pakistan and India."

"If we listen to both sides, both sides are pleased with
the current talks and we want to be helpful and we want to
help particularly in those areas that cause friction and as I
said this is a long-term commitment," he said.

"We would like to see the (South Asian) region ultimately
much more stable, free of terrorism and full of economic
interchange, a better way of life for all the people in the
region and a better association bilaterally with the United
States," Jones said.

The US is encouraged by the actions that it has seen
against militancy in Pakistan in the last year and wants to be
able to encourage them and provide assistance so that they
continue in this positive way, he said.

"We want to show countries like Pakistan which have this
particular problem that there is a better way of life, there
is the chance for quicker economic development, building
confidence for business to invest in areas and countries that
are generally roughly in natural resources but dis-incentivise
economic investment because of the fear of terrorism.

"So it is really in those ways that we can be helpful,"
Jones explained as to how the US plans to be helpful in
improving the situation in South Asia.

PTI