US Unlikely To Mediate On Kashmir: Report

10 March 2009
The Times of India

Washington DC: The Indo-US ties appear all set to deepen under the Obama Administration, notwithstanding apprehensions in some quarters about 'potential friction' on issues like Kashmir and nuclear non-proliferation, according to a latest Congressional report. 'Upon the seating of a new US President in 2009, most experts expected general policy continuity with regard to US-India relations,' said the 83-page report on the 'India-US Relations' by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). The CRS, a research wing of the US Congress, periodically prepares such reports for the internal use of US lawmakers. 'Some look to history in anticipating potential friction on issues such as non-proliferation (where India may be pressed to join initiatives like the CTBT and the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty); human rights and Kashmir (where the new Administration could become more interventionist); and bilateral economic relations (where Obama may pursue so-called protectionist policies),' the report pointed out. Yet, it pointed out, 'Obama's statement that 'Our rapidly growing and deepening friendship with India offers benefits to all the world's citizens,' suggests that the bilateral strategic partnership likely will continue and even deepen.' 'While many Indian analysts opine that Republican US Presidents typically have been more beneficial to Indian interests than have Democratic ones, most appear to conclude that undue worry is unnecessary, and that the selection of a Secretary of State (Hillary Clinton) perceived as friendly to India has done much to ameliorate such concerns,' the report said. Referring to the Kashmir issue, as there was some apprehension that the Obama administration may mediate, it said this is unlikely to happen, as the US would continue with its policy of non-interference. 'Secretary of State Clinton recognises the dangers of rising tensions in Kashmir while also deferring calls for greater US involvement in the situation, saying the US role will continue to be as it was under the previous administration: settlement facilitation, but no mediation,' it said. According to the report, the Mumbai attacks elicited more vocal calls for deepening US-India counter-terrorism cooperation that could benefit both countries. Such cooperation has been hampered by sometimes divergent geopolitical perceptions and by US reluctance to 'embarrass' its Pakistani allies by conveying alleged evidence of official Pakistani links to terrorists, especially those indulged in militancy in Kashmir.