Lawmaker Asks Obama To Engage India, Pak On Kashmir

18 December 2009
The Indian Express

Washington DC: A powerful American lawmaker has appealed to US President Barack Obama to 'engage' Pakistan and India to resolve the Kashmir issue, arguing it would bring long-term peace in the region. 'In order to secure a long-term regional peace, the President must engage India and Pakistan to seek a final political agreement on Kashmir,' Congressman John Conyers, said in his speech in the House of Representatives. The Obama administration has in the past few days repeatedly asserted that it does not intend to play any mediatory role on the Kashmir issue. 'Only when Pakistan feels secure in the south, will the Pakistani army be able to focus its efforts on defeating the Taliban who dwell along the Afghan border,' Conyers, Chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, argued. 'One of the least discussed aspects of this conflict is the role India must play in promoting regional peace,' he said. He said, for years the Pakistani military and intelligence services have been hesitant to crack down on Taliban militants operating in the tribal regions because they fear the establishment of an Afghan government that would be susceptible to Indian influence. 'Such a worst case scenario, in their view, would give one of their traditional regional foes a foothold on both their northern and southern borders,' Conyers, the lawmaker from Michigan said. The Congressman noted that if the Pakistani people understand that the US is committed to helping secure their safety and prosperity, they will step up their efforts to combat terrorism within their borders. 'Additionally, I believe we must expand our thinking beyond Pakistan to include other actors and countries that affect the greater region,' he said. Conyers also opposed sending of more troops to Afghanistan. 'No amount of additional troops can bring a war with no military solution to an end,' he said.