US shies from comment on Musharraf admission

Ex-Pak leader has admitted training militant groups to fight India in Kashmir.

Washington: The US has taken a hands-off approach to former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf`s admission that his regime trained militant groups to fight India in Kashmir, saying it was an issue between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Asked to comment on Musharraf`s admission, State Department spokesman Phillip Crowley responded with a plain "No”.

"This is an issue between Pakistan and India," he added when told that Musharraf also said that he has no regrets for Kargil intrusion which led to an armed conflict between the two South Asian neighbours in 1999.

"It is important. There have been successful discussions between Pakistan and India on this subject in recent years," Crowley said.

"Some of those discussions -- very fruitful discussions -- occurred between former governments of India and Pakistan.

"This is an issue that we hope that the two sides can address and resolve, but this is obviously an important bilateral issue between the two governments," he said.

Asked if the admission of Musharraf, who was Pakistan president for 10 years, could be considered a case of state-sponsored terrorism, Crowley brushed aside the query, saying: "That`s a very sweeping kind of question I just can`t address here."

Asked how he saw the US working with Musharraf again as he planned to run for office in 2013, Crowley said: "Well, it`s a long time between now and 2013. We are engaged deeply with the current civilian government."

"We`re working hard with this government to address the immediate aftermath of the flooding and the ongoing security challenge that affects Pakistan and the United States."

Meanwhile, the White House has said that the deteriorating security situation in Pakistan or a recent flare-up of tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad would have no impact on US President Barack Obama`s India trip in early November.

"They don’t have any impact on that, that I`m aware of," said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs when asked if the tensions in Pakistan have any potential effect on the pace or specifics of the president`s India trip.

"He is involved in a series of regular meetings on that (India trip). I don`t know that there have been a series pull-out meetings especially yet for that trip as we`re still a few weeks away," he said.

IANS

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