US Bets on India, Says Pakistan's a Problem in Afghanistan

Washington, Oct 13 (IANS): The US said that India will be the linchpin of it new vision of an economically integrated and politically stable South and Central Asia and noted that "Pakistan has to be part of the solution, or they will continue to be part of the problem" in Afghanistan.

"The future of politics will be decided in Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States will be right at the centre of the action," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote in an Op-Ed in Foreign Policy magazine, outlining US priorities after the end of Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Describing China as "one of the most prominent of emerging partners", Clinton said the US was setting its sights on "enhancing coordination and engagement among the three giants of the Asia-Pacific: China, India, and the United States".

"Among key emerging powers with which we will work closely are India and Indonesia, two of the most dynamic and significant democratic powers of Asia," Clinton wrote, describing them as "key drivers of the global economy" whose "importance is likely to grow in the years ahead".

Noting that President Barack Obama told the Indian parliament last year that the relationship between India and America will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century, rooted in common values and interests, she said there are still obstacles to overcome and questions to answer on both sides.

But "the United States is making a strategic bet on India's future - that India's greater role on the world stage will enhance peace and security, that opening India's markets to the world will pave the way to greater regional and global prosperity".

It was also betting "that Indian advances in science and technology will improve lives and advance human knowledge everywhere, and that India's vibrant, pluralistic democracy will produce measurable results and improvements for its citizens and inspire others to follow a similar path of openness and tolerance".

"So the Obama administration has expanded our bilateral partnership; actively supported India's Look East efforts, including through a new trilateral dialogue with India and Japan; and outlined a new vision for a more economically integrated and politically stable South and Central Asia, with India as a linchpin."

Clinton said that "Pakistan has to be part of the solution, or they will continue to be part of the problem" in Afghanistan.

"Everybody knows Pakistan has a big stake in the outcome of what goes on across their border, and they are going to be involved one way or the other," Clinton said after a lecture on American Global Leadership at the Centre for American Progress Wednesday.

"Part of what we've done is to continue to push forward on what our expectations are from Pakistan and hold them accountable on a range of issues that we have laid out for them," she said, describing it as a "very difficult relationship."

"But I believe strongly that it is not one we can walk away from and expect that anything will turn out better, because I don't believe that will be the case," she added.

"Therefore, we are deeply engaged in finding ways to enhance cooperation with Pakistan and to further the Afghan desire for a legitimate peace and reconciliation process."

A senior US official said that America's vision of a secure, stable, prosperous 21st century world has at its heart a strong partnership with a rising India.

"The question is not whether we will have a strategic partnership, but whether we are doing as much as we possibly can to ensure that we realise its full promise," Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said Wednesday ahead of the first US-India Higher Education Summit.

Over 300 higher education leaders, government and private sector representatives are participating in the daylong education summit co-chaired by India's Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The official said he was confident that India can make a decisive contribution to building what Hillary Clinton has called "the global architecture of cooperation," to solve problems that no one country can solve on its own.


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