Hillary Steers Clear Of Kashmir

28 October 2009
The New Indian Express
S Rajagopalan

Washington DC: Steering clear of the Kashmir issue, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made it clear that it is for India and Pakistan to resolve their differences. During an interview to a Pakistani TV channel, ahead of her arrival in Islamabad on Wednesday on a three-day visit, Clinton took abundant care not to utter the sensitive K-word when asked pointedly about President Barack Obama’s failure to come up with a Kashmir initiative after talking about it during his campaign phase. Making it clear that the US has two solid bilateral relationships with India and Pakistan, and that the two are distinct from one another, Clinton said: “Now it would be a very important step for both India and Pakistan to work to resolve their differences.” Although the interviewer sought to draw her out on a US initiative by talking of a predominant view in Pakistan that there can be no normalisation of Indo-Pak relations or durable peace in the region without tackling the Kashmir issue, Clinton stated: “But we believe that the most durable possible outcomes of any kind of resolution or normalization can only come from the two countries themselves.” Separately, talking to reporters travelling with her to Islamabad, Clinton indicated that the US would continue to push Pakistan to act against all those behind the Mumbai terror attacks. She said, “We are clearly pushing for the trials of the Mumbai attackers and planners to go forward…. we see them as a threat to Pakistan, we see them as a threat to India, we see them as a threat to stability in the region.”