Resolution Of Kashmir Issue Needed For Peace, Says Mullen

8 December 2009
The Dawn
Anwar Iqbal

Washington DC: The US military chief urged India and Pakistan on Tuesday to settle the Kashmir issue, stressing that the resolution of this 62-year old dispute was important for restoring peace to the South Asian region. Addressing Washington-based foreign correspondents at the Foreign Press Centre, Admiral Mike Mullen said that Kashmir was a principal question which Pakistan and India needed to address. He also pledged close cooperation with Pakistan in dealing with the insurgents operating along the Pak-Afghan border. ‘In the long run, resolution of the border in the east in Kashmir is a very important outcome. Obviously, that is a principal concern to India and Pakistan. But there is a concern to many others in terms of stability of the region,’ he said. ‘I think that is a key part of what needs to happen in the future.’ He also welcomed New Delhi’s announcement that it would withdraw some troops from Occupied Kashmir. ‘I think that the adjustments that the Indians have proposed, and to the degree that has been executed, I am just not current on the level of execution right now, but certainly executing those changes is a very positive step,’ he said. ‘I think, the leadership - the political leadership, the diplomatic leadership and the military leadership in both countries and in the region need to continue to encourage and also to respond, because I really do believe that ‘de-tensioning’ that border is absolutely critical to the long-term stability in that region.’ The proposed resolution, he said, would require ‘outreach’ from both India and Pakistan. ‘So, I am very positively moved by the steps that the Prime Minister Singh’s government has taken with respect to this,’ he added.