US may urge India to resolve Kashmir issue: Blackwill

5 May 2009
The Dawn
Jawed Naqvi

New Delhi: The United States could be expected to mount pressure on India and Pakistan to improve their relations and put focus on Washington's so-called AfPak agenda, former US Ambassador Robert Blackwill said here on Tuesday. To that end New Delhi may be asked by the Obama administration to resolve the Kashmir dispute with Pakistan. 'The possible effect of such an enveloping US preoccupation with Pakistan seems on its way in practical terms to re-hyphenating the US-India relationship, leading the administration to see India largely through the lens of deeply disturbing developments in Pakistan,' Mr Blackwill, who was the Bush administration's ambassador here from 2001-2003, said at a business club. 'This will produce an understandable and growing US interest in trying to reduce tensions in India-Pakistan relationship, not least because Pakistan will argue that tensions with India and the Kashmir dispute are preventing it from moving robustly against the Islamic terrorists,' he said, adding India might encounter eventual US pressure on the Kashmir issue. He also said that the Obama administration appeared to have downgraded India in the US's strategic calculations and put China on a higher plane. Describing growing Talibanisation in Pakistan 'as the most dangerous international situation since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis', Mr Blackwill said that another Mumbai-like attack could trigger a war between India and Pakistan.'It is India that is continually attacked by terrorists based in Pakistan with the support of elements of the Pakistan military and today infiltration across the Line of Control (LoC) is increasing,' Mr Blackwill said in a lecture here titled 'The future of India-US relations', organised by Aspen Institute India and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). 'It is India that Pakistan claims is illegally occupying Kashmir. And it is only India that could again find itself at war with Pakistan, triggered by another Mumbai-like attack,' the former envoy said while alluding to Pakistan's obsession with India. 'So India is profoundly connected to the future of Pakistan, not on the periphery of it.'