Washington: The US has said that this is
not the appropriate moment for India and Pakistan to hold
discussions on the Kashmir issue as they need to go for
confidence building measures first.
"I think that`s not going to be an issue that`s going
to be addressed right away," Assistant Secretary of State for
South and Central Asia Robert Blake said in response to a
question at a special news conference on India yesterday.
Blake emphasised that it was for India and Pakistan to
take a call on it, but felt that it would be better for the
two countries go for confidence building measures first.
"I think, again, that what`s most important is first
to get these talks going again and to focus on -- once they`ve
gotten beyond the immediate counter-terrorism issues, to focus
on some of the important opportunities like trade that exist
between these two countries," Blake said.
"Once they have developed a degree of confidence, they
might then be able to take up some of these more sensitive
territorial issues," Blake said.
He was responding to the question: "Where does Kashmir
and the line of control fit into this puzzle?" The State
Department official also did not agree with the allegations
coming from some of the top Pakistani officials about India`s
role in Afghanistan, which he said is nothing but
"I am not sure that India`s providing that much
training to the Afghan army," Blake said when referred to the
remarks of General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani that he was against
India training Afghan Armed forces.
"The vast majority of the assistance that the Indians
are providing to Afghanistan is in the form of economic
assistance," Blake said.
"I would say we`ve welcomed very much the assistance
that India has provided and all of our cabinet-level officials
have welcomed that and will continue to do so," he said.
"We think that they`ve really played a very important
role with the USD 1.3 billion in assistance that they provided
to date, mostly in infrastructure and other kinds of
reconstruction projects, but also capacity building and
training and so forth.
And so we think that is a very important part of the
international effort to help stabilise Afghanistan," Blake