Washington, Jul 4 (IANS): As Pakistan agreed to reopen ground supply lines into Afghanistan after a US apology of sorts, the United States reiterated its support for India's constructive role in Afghanistan.
"We've been very encouraging and supportive of the role that India is playing, not just in encouraging regional integration and encouraging economic activity, but also in supporting police training, et cetera in Afghanistan," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters Tuesday.
The Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "was in India not too long ago. And Afghanistan was a huge subject of discussion there, including endorsing the business conference that was just held in Delhi," she said when asked whether India had been briefed about the deal with Pakistan.
Nuland also said that the US strongly favoured "increased dialogue, increased cooperation between India and Pakistan."
"We have been very pleased to see the economic warming. Our hope is that that can lead to increased warming on the political side, on the security side. We work with both countries on counterterrorism issues and will continue to do so," she said.
Clinton earlier announced that Pakistan had agreed to reopen NATO's supply routes into Afghanistan after she told Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar that she was sorry for the deaths of two dozen Pakistani soldiers in American airstrikes in November.
Clinton said that in a telephone call Tuesday morning to Khar, they had agreed that both sides made mistakes that led to the fatal airstrikes.
"The Foreign Minister and I were reminded that our troops - Pakistani and American - are in a fight against a common enemy. We are both sorry for losses suffered by both our countries in this fight against terrorists," she said in a statement.
Commenting on the deal, Lisa Curtis, senior research fellow for South Asia at the conservative Heritage Foundation said Clinton's apology deal is really incidental to the real issue at stake in US-Pakistan relations.
"The reality is that the US and Pakistan are striving for different outcomes in Afghanistan," she said suggesting Pakistan is focused on ensuring that a regime friendly to Pakistan emerges in Afghanistan, and that regime would most likely include elements aligned with Al Qaeda.
"Until Pakistan aligns its goals more closely with those of the US and NATO in Afghanistan and confronts the Taliban and Haqqani networks inside Pakistan, tensions between the US and Pakistan will persist," Curtis said.