Kashmir Unlikely To Figure During Singh-Obama Talks26 October 2010
Washington DC: Kashmir issue is unlikely to figure during talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama in New Delhi next month as US considers this an 'internal' matter of India, Indian sources have said. But, the two leaders will discuss the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as in South East Asia and how India and the US can increase their co-operation at the global level, a source, familiar with the preparatory talks between officials of the two countries, said. The source said Kashmir issue is unlikely to figure during the talks between Singh and Obama as the US' firm stand is that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and it has to be solved by them, despite Pakistan asking it to play a role. The US considers India as an 'anchor of stability in the region and is very appreciative of the role played by New Delhi under the leadership of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,' the source said. While India has quietly played a developmental role in Afghanistan, where it is one of the largest donors of civilian activities, the US is very grateful of the restrain shown by India with regard to Pakistan, where a section of the establishment is keen to increase tension with India. This is used as an excuse not to carry on with the operations against terrorists, the source said. Indian and US officials said it is in this context that the Obama Administration has taken a decision not to play any role on the Kashmir issue, despite the fact that it is repeatedly being demanded by the top Pakistani leadership. 'Kashmir is an issue that we believe needs to be resolved between Pakistan and India. It is an issue that does come up in time to time in our bilateral discussions with Pakistan. But there is no working group in Kashmir,' State Department spokesman, P J Crowley said. 'Because the strategic dialogue is focused on expanding our bilateral relationship, when we get together, the United States or Pakistan can bring forward any issue that it wishes. The Pakistanis have raised the issue of Kashmir with us before. This is not new,' he said. 'Our understanding of the Pakistani view of this issue is well known. But at the same time, the United States' policy is clear. We believe that this is ultimately an issue that has to be resolved between India and Pakistan,' Crowley said in response to a question. Besides, Singh and Obama will also discuss reforms in the current architecture of global governance giving India its due position in all of the international institutions is another issue that would be a key highlight of the Obama trip to India, the source said. While there has been no indication from the United States so far, officials expect that the US would move a step ahead towards endorsing India as permanent member of the UN Security Council.