''Partnership between India and Pakistan to bring stability''

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Lalit K Jha

Washington, Jan 27 (PTI) Ahead of the foreign secretarylevel talks in Thimphu, the White House has hoped thatIslamabad and New Delhi would continue with their peace talksas partnership between India and Pakistan would bringstability to this all important region of the world.

"It serves both the interest of India and the interest ofPakistan and that of the US and the world to develop the kindof relationship that allows for greater trust, that allows forpotential partnership between India and Pakistan, because thatwould bring stability to the region and both peoples wouldprosper," said Mike Hammer spokesperson National SecurityCouncil, White House.

"What we have done is to encourage both countries toengage in dialogue between them. We have seen some efforts ofit," Hammer told PTI in an interview referring to the seriesof talks between India and Pakistan at various levels in thelast two years.

Spokesperson of the National Security Council for thefirst two years of the Obama Administration, Hammer now movesto the State Department from next week.

He had travelled to India with the US President BarackObama in November last year.

"This (talks) needs to, one would have hoped wouldcontinue again because it is an area of the world that canhave great impact on the rest of the world and we want topromote peace and stability," he said.

"The best way has been to encourage both of our friendsIndia and Pakistan to try to bridge this historical challengesand the problems that they had difficulty in overcoming in thepast to do that," he observed.

"We realize that this takes courage on both sides, but wewant to be supportive in any way that we can if the partiesdecide that the United States can be helpful," he said.

Noting that there has been a strong focus of thisadministration on Pakistan from its very outset, he, however,asserted that this has not been at the expense of any othercountry, including India.

"We have seen strategic dialogue initiated here acrossvarious government agencies with our Pakistani partners. Whatwe will see in 2011 will be continuation of that. But I wantto make sure that it is understood that because we are doingthis, is not at the expense of other relationship orpartnership in South Asia or the world," he said.

One of the great qualities of the United States is thatit has the capacity to have very intense focus in engagementwith a number of countries around the world.

"We have a number of staff here at the National SecurityCouncil, but also across the United States Government thatwork on these issues every day," he said.

"So seemingly, some partnership or relationship wouldappear to have getting more attention on any given month orweek, you have these other relationships that continue to moveforward," he said.

Referring to the federal notification of the Departmentof Commerce removing several Indian companies from entitieslist, he said this was follow up to the export controlagreements that were reached between Prime Minister Singh andPresident Obama.

"So while we are engaged in issues related to Pakistan,we are following up on the commitments that the President madewith prime Minister Singh in India," he said.

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