Washington: Stating that India shares US concerns on the deteriorating situation on Pakistan’s western border, a top official has said that Washington is keen to forge “effective” cooperation with the new government in New Delhi to root out the “common threat” of terrorism.
“They really do share the understanding that what’s happening in western Pakistan is of direct concern to them,” Richard Holbrooke, special US envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan said.
“The Indians have been public in saying they’re not happy with the cooperation they got after the Mumbai attacks. We all know that,” he said while appearing before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs yesterday.
Holbrooke also said that the Obama administration was eagerly looking forward to the formation of a new government in India so that it could start the process of effective cooperation with New Delhi and Islamabad to root out the common threat of terrorism from Pakistan.
His comments came on the eve of the trilateral summit between US President Barack Obama will have with his Pakistani and Afghan counterparts, Asif Ali Zardari and Hamid Karzai here to chalk out a common strategy to fight the Taliban in the region.
The trilateral meeting is an initiative of Obama, who wants to establish his own channel of direct communication with the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, the prime focus of his foreign policy.
Holbrooke noted that since India was in the middle of a general election, the authorities there have not taken any decision with regard to Pakistan so far. But Indian authorities share Washington’s concern over the deteriorating situation on Pakistan’s western border, he said.
“They have been listening, they’ve been very interested but they have not taken any clear positions at this point,” Holbrook told Congressmen, summarising his two recent trips to New Delhi and Islamabad.
Holbrooke also noted that for the first time since partition, India, Pakistan and the US have a common threat, a common enemy and a common task.
He hoped that “after the elections and after these bills (on tripling non-military aid to Pakistan in the US Senate and House of Representatives), we will be able to move to more of a consensus that a common threat requires common actions.
“Ever since I took this job, India’s been in election campaign. They’re voting right now; there’s 700 million people voting. The elections will be finished in about less than two weeks, and I look forward to returning and then I would be happy to return and give you a better answer,” he said.
But there are a lot of moving parts here, he said without explaining any further.