May 2001 News

U.S. sees role in solving Kashmir row

15 May 2001
The Hindu
Sridhar Krishnaswami

Washington DC: The Secretary of State, Gen. Colin Powell, has said the progress in the last several years in the relations between the United States and India has given a new opportunity to encourage India and Pakistan "to find a peaceful and just solution to the problem of Kashmir". Gen. Powell was before the Sub Committee of the Senate Appropriations Committee on the Fiscal 2002 Foreign Operations Budget when he was asked by Democratic Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota of the role the United States could play to resolve the continuing conflicts between India and Pakistan, especially with regard to Kashmir and what more could be done. "I think there is a role we can play. And I think the progress that we have seen over the last several years in relations between the United States and India, especially, give us a new entree, a new opportunity to encourage the sides to find a peaceful and just solution to the problem of Kashmir", Gen. Powell responded. "But as you know Senator, it's a very difficult issue. We plan to build on the relationship. The Indian Foreign Minister has been to see me and I have assured him that we will build on what was achieved in the previous administration, looking forward to visiting India at some point and looking forward to exchanges at all levels - economic, trade and other levels", Gen. Powell noted. The Secretary of State argued that for the most of his military career, especially in his senior years as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, India was just "over there",'sort of" connected with the then Soviet Union and that the United States did not pay a lot of attention to India and that then the focus was really on Pakistan. "Well, now our focus is on both of them and I think we can be helpful to both of them. And we really have to make sure that this nuclear genie doesn"t get any further out of the bottle than it already is out of the bottle. And on a regular basis we consult them, we make sure they understand the seriousness with which we view the potential for something getting out of control in the region. And I think we do have a helpful role to play, because of the new relationship we have with India", he said.


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