Islamabad: America’s top military official arrived here today for consultations with Pakistan’s civil and military leadership in the wake of tension with India following the terror attacks in Mumbai.
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, is expected to meet President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Gen Tariq Majid, chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, during his two-day visit.
Mullen is expected to discuss the regional security situation, especially the tensions between India and Pakistan, during his meetings, diplomatic sources said.
The war on terror, the situation along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and Pakistan’s opposition to US missile attacks in its tribal areas are also likely to figure in the parleys, the sources said.
The US has stepped up diplomatic efforts to ease regional tensions following the attacks in Mumbai that killed nearly 200 people. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is in India today, is expected to arrive in Pakistan tomorrow.
India has blamed Pakistan-based elements, including the banned Lashker-e-Taiba terror group, for carrying out the attacks and asked Pakistani authorities to act against them.
President Zardari has denied Pakistan’s involvement in the attacks and called on India to furnish evidence to substantiate its accusations.
The US is concerned about the impact of tensions on the war on terror as Pakistan has threatened to divert troops from the Afghan border to the frontier with India in the event of hostilities.
Pakistan is a key supply route for US troops in Afghanistan. American officials also fear that the diversion of troops from the Afghan border could fuel cross-border raids by the Pakistani Taliban.