Kashmir Not In The Mandate Of Holbrooke: US

27 January 2009
The Times of India


Washington DC: Allaying India's apprehensions, the US has said that Kashmir is not in the mandate of Richard Holbrooke, who has been appointed the Special Representative to the region 'to deal strictly with the Pakistan-Afghanistan situation'. 'Well, it (Kashmir) is not in his (Holbrooke) mandate,' State Department spokesperson Robert Wood told reporters at his daily press briefing in response to a question as to why Kashmir has not been included in the mandate of Holbrooke. 'Well, it's not in his mandate, as you mentioned, to deal with the subject of Kashmir. His mandate is to go out and try to help bring stability to Afghanistan, working closely with Pakistan to try to deal with the situation in the Fedrally-Administered Tribal Area,' Wood said. 'With regard to Kashmir, I think our policy is well-known. I think India has some very clear views as to what it wants to do vis-a-vis, you know, dealing with the Kashmir issue, as well as the Pakistanis,' Wood said. 'But with regard to Ambassador Holbrooke's mission, as I said, it's to deal strictly with the Pakistan-Afghanistan situation,' Wood insisted, clarifying all doubts if any. Asked whether the Special Envoy will play a role at a time when there are heightened tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Mumbai terror strikes, he said: 'Well, I don't want to speculate in terms of what he may or may not do, but his brief is focused solely on, as I said, Afghanistan-Pakistan,' Wood said.