03 March, 2010

Dr Singh Clarifies US stance toward Kashmir

New Delhi, March 3 (ANI): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday clarified that there is no change in the U.S. policy towards India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue.

Dr. Singh's reply came in response to senior BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani's question saying that President Barack Obama in his election campaigns had vowed to solve the Kashmir issue, if got elected, as Mr. Advani said: "The new president of America has said many times in his election speeches, that if got elected, I will put full force behind solving the Kashmir issue. However before that American policy was we will not intervene until India and Pakistan both ask for it. If they don't ask we will not intervene and want them to bilaterally hold dialogue."

Replying to Advani's query Dr. Singh said there was no change in the policy of the U.S. towards New Delhi and Islamabad.

"I feel very sorry that you are using this forum of debate, I think, to sow, I think, seeds of, I think, we wouldn't like to say...., what you have attributed to President Obama, is certainly not true. I have had number of discussions with President Obama and he has said to me unambiguously there is no change in the U.S. policy towards India and Pakistan," said Dr. Singh.

U.S. recently welcomed first official talks between India and Pakistan since the 2008 Mumbai attacks, held in New Delhi last week. U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said in Washington the two countries had taken "a courageous step to open the door to dialogue" and he hoped it would be built on.

Re-engaging Pakistan was a politically fraught move for India, given strong public opinion against talks, but a nudge from Washington and dwindling diplomatic options saw India reaching out.

The first official talks between India and Pakistan ended with only an agreement to "keep in touch," signaling that relations between them remain frosty. (ANI)

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