Washington: A bipartisan US Congressional
delegation, comprising of influential lawmakers who recently
visited Pakistan and Afghanistan, have asked the leaders in
Islamabad to focus on improving trade relationship with India
and building people-to-people contact.
"We urged them to make sure that they sought better
relations with India, especially along the lines of trade,"
Congressman Rob Wittman told reporters at a news conference
here on their return from the region.
The Congressional delegation included Senators Tom
Carper, John Ensign and Scott Brown.
"We see an opportunity there. The trading relationship
between Pakistan and India is 140th in the world and we see a
great opportunity there for better relations through trade. So
we encouraged them to develop those trading relationships
there. We think those are the basis of establishing a much
higher level of relationships when it comes to other issues,"
"So we encouraged them along those lines, too, to do
more with India, to make sure that we reach out through them
to engage India as a partner in the long-term," the
Congressman said in response to a question.
"When they do that, I think they`re better able to
address these issues of extremist groups that may have a
tendency to be more supportive of India, or in some instances
on the Indian side, more support of Pakistan," Wittman said.
The Congressman said the delegation got the sense that
the Pakistani leadership realised that in order to make sure
the long-term stability in their country is secured and
maintained that they have to go after all forms of extremism.
"So we got a good sense that they understand those
things," he said.
Senator Ensign said: "India has always something that
is in the back of their mind, not in the back of their mind,
but in the forefront of their mind. But they have very much of
a focus now on the Taliban because they see that as a direct
threat to the governing of their country."