New Delhi: The threat posed by Al Qaeda and its allies can be met only with the joint efforts of arch rivals India and Pakistan, as well as the US, a top US envoy to the region said on Wednesday.
“For the first time since partition (of the sub continent in 1947) India, Pakistan and the United States face a common threat, a common challenge and we have a common task,” US envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke told reporters in New Delhi.
“Now that we face a common threat we must work together,” said Holbrooke, who held talks here with senior Indian officials following visits to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Peace efforts: US special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke in New Delhi on Wednesday. Gurinder Osan / AP
But in his joint briefing with Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, Holbrooke stressed that Washington had no intention of pushing New Delhi into resuming a peace dialogue with Islamabad.
“We did not come here to ask India to do anything. We did not come here with with any requests,” Holbrooke said, adding that his only brief was to “inform and consult with” Indian officials.
Those comments appeared aimed at addressing Indian concerns that Washington is intent on mediating a rapprochement with Pakistan. Relations between the South Asian neighbours hit a fresh low in the wake of last year’s Mumbai attacks, blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
India is particularly sensitive to any suggestion of outside interference in its long-standing territorial dispute with Pakistan over Kashmir.
There are also fears that US President Barack Obama’s new strategy to fight Taliban and Al Qaeda militants in the region will pump further military and financial aid into Pakistan.
The US has promised a $7.5 billion (Rs37,875 crore) aid package for Pakistan in return for greater efforts fighting extremist safe havens within its borders. Mullen stressed that India was crucial to maintaining stability in South Asia.
“India is a vital leader in the region,” Mullen said.