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US urged to revive India-Pakistan talks

Updated November 14, 2015
CFR urges the Obama administration to persuade India to resume talks with Pakistan for reducing tensions in South Asia.—AFP/File
CFR urges the Obama administration to persuade India to resume talks with Pakistan for reducing tensions in South Asia.—AFP/File

WASHINGTON: Ahead of Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif’s visit, a top US think-tank urged the Obama administration on Friday to persuade India to resume talks with Pakistan for reducing tensions in South Asia.

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) also urged the US to keep its forces in Afghanistan till 2017 to redress India’s concerns.

“To reduce the chances of conflict that could delay or hinder India’s global rise, the United States should encourage India to improve its relationship with Pakistan—as an investment in its own rise—particularly, at least to start, through greater trade connectivity,” said a CFR report.

The report, prepared by the CFR task force of eminent American scholars, that the drawdown of US and other external forces in Afghanistan was fuelling India’s concerns about regional instability.

“The task force recommends that the United States extend its commitment to Afghanistan—even beyond President Obama’s decision to slow the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and retain a force of some 5,000 US troops in the country into 2017,” the report said.

The 90-page report claims that the current US policy towards Pakistan was one of the main hurdles in the development of a strong India-US relationship.

It asked the Obama Administration to end sale of any defence equipment to Pakistan if it does not “rein in terror”.

“The US should demand that Pakistan meet its obligations as a state to tackle terrorism emanating from its territory, in both India and Afghanistan,” the report said.

“If Pakistan is not willing to rein in terror, Washington should be prepared, at minimum, to end US taxpayer funding for defence equipment sales and reimbursement of coalition support funds,” it added.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2015