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India, Pak Should Focus On Counter-Terrorism Issues: US

The US has said that this is not the appropriate moment for India and Pakistan to hold discussions on the Kashmir issue as they need to go for confidence building measures first.  "I think that's
PTI May 29, 2010 11:35 IST
PTI
The US has said that this is not the appropriate moment for India and Pakistan to hold discussions on the Kashmir issue as they need to go for confidence building measures first.  

"I think that's not going to be an issue that's going to be addressed right away," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake said in response to a question at a special news conference on India yesterday.  

Blake emphasised that it was for India and Pakistan to take a call on it, but felt that it would be better for the two countries go for confidence building measures first.  

"I think, again, that what's most important is first to get these talks going again and to focus on -- once they've gotten beyond the immediate counter-terrorism issues, to focus on some of the important opportunities like trade that exist between these two countries," Blake said.  

"Once they have developed a degree of confidence, they might then be able to take up some of these more sensitive territorial issues," Blake said.  

He was responding to the question: "Where does Kashmir and the line of control fit into this puzzle?" The State Department official also did not agree with the allegations coming from some of the top Pakistani officials about India's role in Afghanistan, which he said is nothing but constructive.  

"I am not sure that India's providing that much training to the Afghan army," Blake said when referred to the remarks of General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani that he was against India training Afghan Armed forces.  

"The vast majority of the assistance that the Indians are providing to Afghanistan is in the form of economic assistance," Blake said.  

"I would say we've welcomed very much the assistance that India has provided and all of our cabinet-level officials have welcomed that and will continue to do so," he said.  

"We think that they've really played a very important role with the $1.3 billion in assistance that they provided to date, mostly in infrastructure and other kinds of reconstruction projects, but also capacity building and training and so forth."  

And so we think that is a very important part of the international effort to help stabilise Afghanistan," Blake said. PTI