WASHINGTON - Resumption of talks between India and Pakistan is important for the success of the international community in Afghanistan, a senior US diplomat has said.
“With respect to India, I’m pleased to see, from my possible future perspective in Afghanistan, that dialogue between the foreign secretaries of the two nations has resumed,” Ryan Crocker, nominated by US President Barack Obama to be his next envoy to Kabul, told a Senate committee during his confirmation hearing.
“I think that’s an important step. I hope they sustain it and they broaden it because clearly the degree to which India and Pakistan start to see some capacity to work together — it’s to the benefit of the region, and it’s to the benefit of us. But again, that falls under the purview of others, particularly as it relates to India,” he added.
Croker, a former US Ambassador to Pakistan, was responding to a question from Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who wanted to know how he viewed the prospects of America ever being successful in persuading the Pakistanis to change their relentless focus on India as a primary source of threat to their nation, and instead throw their weight more decisively behind the US in the war on terror, particularly against the Quetta Shura and the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT).
The diplomat said that Pakistan had been engaged against militants on its soil and had lost a very large number of forces fighting them.
“So it’s not like they’re not doing anything. But as the problems of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, the Haqqani network, the Quetta Shura, as you note, persist,” the Daily Times quoted Crocker, as saying.
He said that the Kerry-Lugar-Berman legislation with a multi-year commitment was very important for improving relationship with Pakistan.
“These are hard problems to solve. I wrestled with them as an ambassador to Pakistan. I had numerous meetings with the Pakistani leadership to press on the Quetta Shura, on the Haqqani network, and clearly with the most limited of results,” said Crocker.
“So again, I think that is why the administration has been right in talking about the two nations together and having Ambassador [Marc] Grossman now succeeding Ambassador [Richard] Holbrooke, so that you do have an approach that crosses the borders, because certainly that’s what the militants are doing.”
“You know, how to crack that conundrum. We’ll have to see whether the Pakistanis do take these actions,” he said, adding that most of the problem was in Pakistan and not in Afghanistan at this time because the US was in Afghanistan.
“As we go through a responsible transition, at the end of the day we have to be sure that safe havens do not then relocate from Pakistan to Afghanistan,” Croker concluded. (ANI)