`India, China have vital role in Afghanistan`

As the United States begins to draw down from Afghanistan, it expects both India and China to play constructive roles in the region, according to a senior administration official.

Updated: Nov 01, 2011, 12:51 PM IST

Washington: As the United States begins to draw down from Afghanistan, it expects both India and China to play constructive roles in the region, according to a senior administration official.

"Obviously both countries recognize the enormous interest that they have in stability in the region and the ways that they would benefit from that," the official said in a conference call Monday in a look ahead to Bonn for conferences on Afghanistan.
"So we`ve talked with both capitals about very constructive roles that they can play. Certainly when the Secretary (of state Hillary Clinton)was in India over the summer, she talked in particular about the vision of the New Silk Road, which would ideally extend not just through Central Asia, to Afghanistan and Pakistan, but ultimately through India," the official said.

"And I think we`ve seen some very positive steps from both the Indians and the Pakistanis over the past few months on facilitating more trade between the countries, which is in the national security and economic interest of both countries," he said.

The US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman was in both Beijing and New Delhi on his most recent trip to the region over the last few weeks, and this (dialogue) continues in a range of other settings, he noted.

The official said US also hoped Pakistanis "will continue to play a role in terms of squeezing the Haqqani Network, helping to support the reconciliation process. even though much of that does not necessarily need to be militarily at this point."
"That includes ensuring that intelligence doesn`t go to the Haqqani Network, that they address IED issues, that they don`t benefit from financial resources or flow of finances, that we deal specifically with areas where we know the Haqqani Network and the Taliban are based, including kind of key cities along the border.

"So there`s a range of issues that could help to facilitate this squeeze, and that would be very complementary to our efforts on the Afghan side of the border," he said.

PTI