Indo-Pak relationship largely unchanged: Clapper

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Lalit K Jha

Washington, Feb 17 (PTI) Despite the fact thatleadership of both India and Pakistan have expressed theirdetermination for talks with each other, the relationshipbetween the two nations remains unchanged, according to a topUS intelligence official.

"India''s ties to Pakistan are largely unchanged. Bothsides have stated their willingness to put all issues on thetable and are committed to another round of talks at theforeign minister level at a date to be determined," James RClapper, Director of National Intelligence, said in hisprepared testimony before the Senate Select Committee onIntelligence.

"Senior Indian officials continue to call for progressin the prosecution of individuals charged with the November2008 attacks in Mumbai, and remain concerned at the length ofthe process taking place in Pakistan. New Delhi, nevertheless,continues to underscore its desire for peaceful and stablerelations with Islamabad," Clapper said.

India, he said, is pursuing a robust foreign policyagenda, working to enhance ties to East and Southeast Asiannations, offering reciprocal visits with China, and hostinghigh level engagements in New Delhi by the US, French, andRussian Presidents in the last months of 2010.

Indian officials welcomed, in particular, the USendorsement of an eventual seat for India on the UN SecurityCouncil, and US commitment to support Indian membership in thefour international export control regimes -- in a phasedmanner and consistent with maintaining the core principles ofthese regimes -- as India takes steps toward full adoption andimplementation of the regimes'' requirements, he said.

New Delhi, meanwhile, has been working to deepen itsengagement with multilateral fora such as the G-20, East AsianSummit, and the climate change discussions in Mexico, Clappersaid.

Indian officials, he said, have welcomed theinternational community''s commitment to remain in Afghanistanuntil the end of 2014. New Delhi continues to believe that astable, friendly Afghanistan is crucial to Indian security.

Despite successful and attempted attacks on theofficial, commercial, and non-governmental Indian presence inAfghanistan, the government believes it has a mandate, fromboth the Indian and Afghan peoples, to continue civilianassistance programs and reconstruction efforts there. (More)PTI LKJ

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