`Next US president will need to work with India`

The winner of 2012 US Presidential Elections must be prepared to engage with India over its ties with Iran, an expert has said.

Washington: The winner of the 2012 US Presidential Elections must be prepared to deal with a potential re-emerging crisis between India and Pakistan and engage with New Delhi over its ties with Iran and interests in Afghanistan, an American expert on South Asia has said.

Daniel Markey, Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia, at Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) - a Washington-based think-tank - said yesterday that the winner of 2012 Presidential Election must be prepared for "a significant potential of near-term crisis" between India and its historical rival Pakistan.

The US would likely be called upon to play an important mediating role in the event of a "Mumbai-type" terrorist event that would lead India and Pakistan to the brink of war, Markey said in a video message posted on the CFR website as part of the Campaign 2012 effort.

Markey said that the President will also have to engage with India on top foreign policy priorities including Iran`s nuclear program and the US departure from Afghanistan.

India sees Iran as an important energy supplier and is not eager to enter into an international effort to put pressure on the Iranians, he explained.

The difference between US and Indian interests on Iran "is likely to dog the relationship" and enter into bilateral and multilateral dealings, he said, adding that the president will also have to address Indian concerns over rising Pakistani influence in Afghanistan following a messy US withdrawal.

Markey said he sees opportunities for improved US-India relations following the upcoming leadership change in India.

"The opportunity in US-India relations is really a long-term one," he says, adding that the US president must not allow near-term irritants to get in the way.