Washington: Resumption of talks between India and Pakistan is important for success of international community in Afghanistan, a senior US diplomat, nominated by President Barack Obama to be his next envoy to Kabul, has told lawmakers here.
"With respect to India, I'm pleased to see, from my possible future perspective in Afghanistan, that the dialogue between the foreign secretaries of the two nations has resumed," Ryan Crocker told a Senate committee during his confirmation hearing.
"I think that's an important step. I hope they sustain it and they broaden it because clearly the degree to which India and Pakistan start to see some capacity to work together -- it's to the benefit of the region, and it's to the benefit of us. But again, that falls to the purview of others, particularly as it relates to India," Croker said.
Croker, former US ambassador to Pakistan, was responding to question from Senator Jeanne Shaheen who wanted to know how he see the prospects of America ever being successful in persuading the Pakistanis to change their relentless focus on India as the primary source of threat to their nation, and instead throw in their lot more decisively with us in the war on extremism, particularly against the Quetta Shura in North Waziristan, and against Lashkar-e-Toiba.
The Pakistanis, Croker said, has been engaged against militants on their soil and they have lost a very large number of forces fighting them.
"So it's not like they're not doing anything. But as the problems of Lashkar-e-Toiba, the Haqqani network, the Quetta Shura, as you note, persist," he said.
Croker said the Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation with a multi-year commitment is very important for improving relationship with Pakistan.
"These are hard problems to solve. I wrestled with them as ambassador to Pakistan. I had numerous meetings with the Pakistani leadership to press on the Quetta Shura, on the Haqqani network, and clearly with the most limited of results," he said.
"So again, I think that is why the administration has been right in talking about the two nations together and having Ambassador Grossman now succeeding Ambassador Holbrooke so that you do have an approach that crosses the borders, because certainly that's what the militants are doing."
"You know, how to crack that conundrum. We'll have to see whether the Pakistanis do take these actions," he said, adding the reason that most of the problem is in Pakistan and not on Afghanistan at this time is because the US is in Afghanistan.
"As we go through a responsible transition. At the end of the day we have to be sure that the safe haven doesn't then relocate from Pakistan to Afghanistan," Croker said.
First Published: Thursday, June 09, 2011, 13:15