Can`t dictate foreign policy to India: US tells Pak
Last Updated: Thursday, March 25, 2010, 08:59
  
Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today made it clear that Washington has no intention to mediate between India and Pakistan, contending that it can only encourage not "dictate" foreign policy of other nations.

Addressing a joint press briefing with her Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi after today's round of the strategic dialogue, Clinton however said the resolution of issues between India and Pakistan would be in everyone's interest.

"I think its very important to recognise that the United States has positive relationship with with both Pakistan and India, and we certainly encourage the dialogue.

"... Now we can't dictate Pakistan foreign policy or Indian foreign policy, but we can encourage as we do the in depth discussion between both countries that we think would benefit each of them with respect to security and develop," she said responding to a question on US' role vis a vis Indo-Pak relations.

While Clinton promised Pakistan help in the energy sector, including in building thermal power plants, but there was no mention in the briefing of a civil nuclear deal which Islamabad has been pressing for.

Qureshi said Islamabad respected India's ties with the US but these should not be at the cost of Pakistan and pointed out that US' long-term interest lies east of Afghanistan.

"As far as India is concerned, they are a sovereign country, they have bilateral relations and we respect that. But all we are saying is that those relations should not be at the cost of Pakistan, and we are very clear on this.

"Pakistan is willing to engage and I am confident two years down the line of this relationship. I am confident that India would revisit its policy," he said.

The remarks came after the first meeting of the delegations of the two countries here in a first-of-a-kind "strategic dialogue".

There was no mention in the briefing of a civil nuclear deal which Islamabad has been pressing for.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan sought access to vital energy resources in a "non-discriminatory" manner from the US, in an apparent reference to a civil nuclear agreement.

Pakistan has been demanding a nuclear deal with the US similar to the one Washington has with India. But, the US has been taking the demand coolly due to proliferation concerns.

However, in the run up to the talks, the US has been indicating that it would consider the demand for a nuclear cooperation.

Clinton said the US would sign a letter for "significant road infrastructure" in Pakistan's troubled northwest.

USAID, the government agency, will also sign a deal for three thermal rehabilitation plans to help ease Pakistan's chronic energy shortages, she said.

The US has also agreed to let Pakistan's national carrier PIA fly to Chicago via Barcelona, she said, appreciating Qureshi for his efforts to start the strategic dialogue.

Qureshi meanwhile said US suspicions of Pakistan had gone away and that "the mood was completely different".

"There was appreciation for what we had already done," he said. "I was at the Senate; I was at the House. It's a 180-degree difference... There were no more question marks, there was no suspicion, there was no 'do more,'" he said.

Earlier opening the first US-Pak strategic dialogue with Clinton, Qureshi had also harped on the Kashmir issue asking the US to "constructively engage" in the process of its peaceful resolution with India.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, March 25, 2010, 08:59


comments powered by Disqus