US welcomes resumption of Indo-Pak talks

The composite dialogue between India and Pakistan was put on hold after Mumbai attacks.

Last Updated: Feb 19, 2011, 08:24 AM IST

New York: Welcoming resumption of talks between India and Pakistan, the US has urged both the nations to work in the same spirit to help in bringing stability in war-ravaged Afghanistan.

"Indeed, we are encouraged by news that India and Pakistan are re-launching a dialogue aimed at building trust, and we encourage them to work in that same spirit to support a political process in Afghanistan,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Asia Society here.

"We look to them - and all of Afghanistan`s neighbours - to respect Afghanistan`s sovereignty, which means agreeing not to play out their rivalries within its borders," she said.

Earlier this month, New Delhi and Islamabad had agreed to resume talks on "all outstanding issues”. The composite dialogue between the two sides was put on hold after 10 Pakistani terrorist carried out coordinated attacks in Mumbai in November 2008, killing 166 people.

Afghanistan is the new talking point included for Indo-Pak discussions in the coming months.

So far, Pakistan has been wary of India`s ties with Afghanistan and continuously questions why New Delhi has so many consulates in that nation. Several reports have suggested that certain elements in Pakistan support the Taliban to ward off India`s influence in the country.

In an almost hour long-review of the US policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Hillary emphasised the need for regional stability to defeat al Qaeda and Taliban as well as promote development in the war-torn country.

She also called on Afghanistan`s neighbours to "support reconciliation and efforts to ensure that al Qaeda and the syndicate of terrorism is denied safe haven everywhere. Afghanistan, in turn, must not allow its territory to be used against others."

"That would reduce the terrorist and narcotics threat to their own citizens, create new opportunities for commerce, and ease the free flow of energy and resources throughout the region. It could also help move other regional conflicts toward peaceful resolution," she added.

Hillary said the region as a whole would benefit with the end of the conflict in Afghanistan.

"Beyond Pakistan, all of Afghanistan`s neighbours and near-neighbours - India and Iran, Russia, China and the Central Asian states - stand to benefit from a responsible political settlement in Afghanistan and also an end to al Qaeda`s safe havens in the border areas and the exporting of extremism into their countries," she said.

PTI