US calms India's nerve on talks with Pak

Posted By: Staff
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Washington, Mar 24: Emphasising US interest in maintaining relationship with both Pakistan and India, United States has said that it will not hold talks with Pakistan on India's expense.

State Department spokesman Philip J Crowley said that US was concerned about improving relationship with all the countries and would ensure that the talks with one country does not hamper the interest of the other.

"We have spent a lot of time trying to convince all countries in the region that ultimately improved relations with the United States and with others in the region is in everyone's interest. And we continue to make that clear," Crowley said.

Asked about the impact of US strategic dialogue with Pakistan on India, Crowley dismissed fears about the talks would affect India' s interest.

"We have warm and expanding relations with Pakistan. We have warm and expanding relations with India. We have warm and expanding relations with Afghanistan," he said adding, "It represents the growing importance of South Asia to our security and our interests globally."

"Usually when this comes up, there's kind of this sense that it's a zero-sum game; it's not; that if we have an expanding agenda with one country, it somehow comes at the expense of others," Crowley said.

"US Assistant Secretary Robert Blake had been to the South Asian region and I think is trying to help various countries understand the context within which these expanded dialogues with all of the countries continue and are in everyone's interest," Crowley said.

On the possibility of an expanded military relationship with Pakistan after the dialogue, Crowley said that the talk would concentrate only on enhacing civilian cooperation.

"We've had a extensive military-to-military relationship and expansive cooperation for a number of years. I think our emphasis primarily is bringing the level of civilian cooperation up to the existing level of military cooperation."

"But clearly, one of the key areas in our relationship is the security dimension because we have a shared threa," he said.

Crowley praised Pakistan's recent effort in handling terror groups, which is threat to the nation and to the world at large, adding that their efforts have won the appreciation of United States, '" to the extent that Pakistan comes forward with further requirements, we will obviously entertain those," he said.

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