‘Resolving Kashmir issue crucial for peace in SA'

Washington: The path to long-term peace in South Asia lies in resolving the Kashmir issue and America has has held discussions in this regard with leaders in both India and Pakistan, a top Pentagon official said.

"I've said a couple years ago, and I believe today...solving Kashmir unlocks the whole place, that's the path for long-term solutions," Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in response to a question at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington-based think tank.

"Very difficult issue; that isn't going to go away, it isn't going to get better over time. And I have had those discussions, actually with both Pakistani leadership as well as Indian leadership.

"I said earlier this isn't just about Afghanistan and Pakistan. It's a regional issue, and that includes India and other neighbours. But certainly in India -- and I know that has been for a significant period of time -- an existential threat with respect to Pakistan. It remains today," he said.

The top US military commander said the totality of the region is the need to focus on responsibly so that it doesn't deteriorate into "either a civil war, a failed state with nuclear weapons, which is huge danger to the future not just of the region but of the world".