Indo-Pak dialogue essential for stability in South Asia: US

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Lalit K Jha

Washington, Jan 13 (PTI) The US encourages Indo-Pakdialogue to ensure stability in South Asia, the White Househas said, while describing India as an "important partner".

It also noted that President Barack Obama and PrimeMinister Manmohan Singh share a deep personal rapport on ahost of global issues.

"The President (Obama) recognises that India is animportant partner and certainly critical in the region, andthat in order to ensure stability in South Asia, we wanted toencourage dialogue between India and Pakistan," Mike Hammer,spokesperson of the National Security Council, told foreignjournalists in New York and Washington, at a news conference.

"That''s something that we continue to support whenthere are efforts there.

"Because the more confidence and trust that can bebuilt between those two nations, the more able everyone elseis to focus on really the challenges of extremism andterrorism that are a threat to us all," Hammer said inresponse to a question.

He said Obama''s visit to India in November reflectedall elements of Indo-US relationship.

"It''s not only a question of the security interests ofboth countries, but the economic interests of both countries,the cultural ties between both countries. And we''re veryencouraged.

"I think what you''ve seen is an evolving deep,personal relationship between the President and Prime Minister(Manmohan) Singh. This is something that we''re very optimisticand positive about, I think you''re going to see increasingcooperation between both our countries, including recentlysome decisions by India with regards to Iran and financing,"Hammer said.

The White House official said the US President throughhis visit, recognised that there are emerging powers aroundthe globe that are increasingly important, India being amongthem.

"We saw the very important and successful visit thePresident made last November to India.

We''ve had a state visit with Prime Minister Singh. Andthat''s a strategic partnership that continues to grow and is,I think, in the interest of both countries and the world totry to continue on that path," he said.

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