Washington: Despite the fact that leadership of both India and Pakistan have expressed their determination for talks with each other, the relationship between the two nations remains unchanged, according to a top US intelligence official.
"India's ties to Pakistan are largely unchanged. Both sides have stated their willingness to put all issues on the table and are committed to another round of talks at the foreign minister level at a date to be determined," James R Clapper, director of National Intelligence, said in his prepared testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
"Senior Indian officials continue to call for progress in the prosecution of individuals charged with the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai, and remain concerned at the length of the process taking place in Pakistan. New Delhi, nevertheless, continues to underscore its desire for peaceful and stable relations with Islamabad," Clapper said.
India, he said, is pursuing a robust foreign policy agenda, working to enhance ties to East and Southeast Asian nations, offering reciprocal visits with China, and hosting high level engagements in New Delhi by the US, French, and
Russian Presidents in the last months of 2010.
Indian officials welcomed, in particular, the US endorsement of an eventual seat for India on the UN Security Council, and US commitment to support Indian membership in the four international export control regimes -- in a phased manner and consistent with maintaining the core principles of these regimes -- as India takes steps toward full adoption and implementation of the regimes' requirements, he said.
New Delhi, meanwhile, has been working to deepen its engagement with multilateral fora such as the G20, East Asian Summit, and the climate change discussions in Mexico, Clapper said.
Indian officials, he said, have welcomed the international community's commitment to remain in Afghanistan until the end of 2014. New Delhi continues to believe that a stable, friendly Afghanistan is crucial to Indian security.
Despite successful and attempted attacks on the official, commercial, and non-governmental Indian presence in Afghanistan, the government believes it has a mandate, from both the Indian and Afghan peoples, to continue civilian assistance programs and reconstruction efforts there.
India's open assistance programmes provide only non-combat aid, although the Indian media continues to discuss whether the country should also consider various capacity-building programs for the Afghan security forces as a means to bolster internal security, he said.
Clapper said India is closely watching a variety of issues that New Delhi believes will be of primary concern in 2011, to include questions about whether or how to reconcile Afghan Taliban, US, and ISAF views about the current and future security situation in Afghanistan, and developments in efforts to foster civil society, a solid economy, and robust democratic processes.
New Delhi, he said, is likely to seek dialogue on these issues with a variety of interested nations. "The Pakistani government, however, remains concerned that India is using its presence in Afghanistan and its discussions with the US and other nations to develop policies that may be destabilising to Pakistan," he said.
"Meanwhile, officials, media commentators, and members of the think-tank community in India are discussing the global implications of the simultaneous "emergence of India" and the "rise of China”.
“While underscoring the unique aspect of this twinned emergence of two substantial powers on the global political and economic stage, Indians have also noted that there is no inevitable clash between the two powers," Clapper said.
First Published: Thursday, February 17, 2011, 13:08