India rejects third party role in ties with Pakistan

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NEW DELHI - Days before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Washington, India Wednesday responded to concerns about the US giving a monitoring role to China in South Asia by saying that a “third country role cannot be envisaged” in resolving its issues with Pakistan.

“Government of India is committed to resolving all outstanding issues with Pakistan through a peaceful bilateral dialogue in accordance with the Simla agreement, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash told reporters.

“A third country role cannot be envisaged nor is it necessary,” Prakash said in response to a question on the US-China joint statement that has led to concerns in India about the US giving a role to China in bilateral issues relating to India and Pakistan.

New Delhi also stressed that meaningful dialogue with Islamabad was not possible without addressing the threat of cross-border terror.

“We also believe that a meaningful dialogue with Pakistan can take place only in an environment free from terror or the threat of terror, the spokesperson said.

The US and China “support the efforts of Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight terrorism, maintain domestic stability and achieve sustainable economic and social development, and support the improvement and growth of relations between India and Pakistan”, a joint statement said Tuesday after talks between US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The US and China have agreed to work together to bring about stable and peaceful relations in all of South Asia, Obama said at a joint briefing with Hu in Beijing.

The statement, coming as it does barely days before Manmohan Singh goes to Washington as Obama’s state guest, has irked some circles in New Delhi.

Washington, however, defended the joint statement. Seeking to allay the concerns, US Ambassador in New Delhi Timothy J. Roemer said it was a positive statement.

“We are trying to ensure a prosperous and peaceful rise of China, he said. At the same time, we have historic and close relations with India,” he added.

Describing the India-US relationship as not only one of the most important relationships for the world, the US envoy stressed the relationship would move to the next level and revolve around a broader strategic dialogue on pressing challenges of the twenty-first century, including terrorism, climate change, food security and poverty-alleviation.

Filed under: Diplomacy, India, Pakistan, Politics

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