Blackwill pessimistic on Pakistan's future

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New Delhi, Apr 20 (UNI) Former US Ambassador to India Robert D Blackwill today welcomed the return of democracy in Pakistan, but expressed deep pessimism over the future of that country.

''Nobody knows what will happen in Pakistan,'' Mr Blakwill, President of BGR International, said at the Ist IISS-CITI India Global Forum here.

He said India and the US could find ways to deal with the emerging situation in Pakistan, but ruled out any role for Washington in the Indo-Pak relations.

''I am against the US getting between India and Pakistan. The US has no role to play...,'' he said.

He was critical of Pakistan giving sanctuary to the Taliban, and said the Taliban could not be defeated in Afghanistan as long as it ''has a growing sanctuary in Pakistan''.

In a significant statement on China, he said he saw nothing wrong in India-US relations shaking Chinese policies ''as long as it is not done in an aggressive way''.

On the India-US civil nuclear pact, he said if it was not finalised during the Bush regime it would not be a loss to the US, but ''India will have to pay a substantial price in terms of lack of civil nuclear system from the outside world for future energy source''.

And the next US Administration, he said, might return to the pre-2001 position and start lecturing India on the nuclear issues and urging it to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

He said the next five years would be significant for the India-US defence cooperation with India purchasing combat aircraft from the US.

UNI YJ HS HT1355

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