Indo-Pak peace talks extremely important: Pentagon

The resumption of peace talks between India and Pakistan is extremely important for peace in the region, including Afghanistan, a top Pentagon official has said.

Updated: Mar 16, 2011, 10:39 AM IST

Washington: The resumption of peace talks
between India and Pakistan is extremely important for peace in the region, including Afghanistan, a top Pentagon official has
said.

"We have actually been very heartened by the fact that
India and Pakistan are resuming their own dialogue on a number
of disputed issues, whether from Kashmir to counterterrorism,
humanitarian issues, trade and so forth. So we think that
dialogue is extremely important," US Under Secretary of
Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy said in her testimony
before the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee.

Early this month, Flournoy had led the high-powered
Pentagon delegation for the India-US Defense Policy Group
(DPG) meeting.

Flournoy had also been instrumental in shaping the
Af-Pak policy of the Obama administration.

"I think Pakistan, in particular, views so many issues
in the region through the prism of its relationship with
India. So getting at some of those root problems between the
two of them is one of the most important initiatives that can
happen in the region. So we are being as supportive of that as
possible," she said.

Flournoy said she thinks that America`s success in Afghanistan will be a calculus - changing event for many actors in the region who`ve spent many years hedging.
"The fact of that stability and that success will
force a recalculation by a whole number of parties that will
have to reckon with that and may choose to approach that
reality differently than and change some behavior that we`ve
seen in the past," she said.

The Under Secretary of Defense for Policy was
responding to questions from Senator Mark Udall on India
Pakistan relationship.

"We have been hearing for quite a while that the
Pakistani leadership is unwilling to abandon support for the
Taliban because they view it as a hedge against possible
future Indian influence in Kabul. India, of course, denies any
such ambitions," he said.
"In the context of our new strategic partnership with
India, do you think that there are any new openings to engage
New Delhi in a more positive political solution that might
reassure Pakistan?" Udall asked.

"If you can tie in the extraordinary energy resources
of the Central Asian states with the very rapidly growing
economy of the subcontinent, you have to go through
Afghanistan to do that and then tie into Pakistan and India,"
said General David Petraeus, Commander of US and NATO forces
in Afghanistan.

"That`s obviously beneficial for all of the countries
in the region, but it obviously requires a degree of economic
cooperation to take place between India and Pakistan in
particular that has been elusive so far because of the context
in which they`ve been seeking to do this," Petraeus said.

PTI