Washington, March 24 (IANS) Suggesting that its strategic dialogues with various countries were not a zero-sum game, the US has stressed that its expanded relationship with India or Pakistan does not come at the expense of one or the other.
"We have spent a lot of time trying to convince all countries in the region that ultimately improved relations with the United States and with others in the region is in everyone's interest," State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley told reporters Tuesday.
"And we continue to make that clear" he said when asked what impact would Wednesday's strategic dialogue with Pakistan have on US ties with India and Afghanistan.
"We have warm and expanding relations with Pakistan. We have warm and expanding relations with India. We have warm and expanding relations with Afghanistan," he said adding, "It represents the growing importance of South Asia to our security and our interests globally."
"Usually when this comes up, there's kind of this sense that it's a zero-sum game; it's not; that if we have an expanding agenda with one country, it somehow comes at the expense of others," Crowley said.
US Assistant Secretary Robert Blake, Crowley said, had been to the South Asian region "and I think is trying to help various countries understand the context within which these expanded dialogues with all of the countries continue and are in everyone's interest."
Asked if the dialogue would lead to an expanded military relationship with Pakistan, Crowley said: "We've had a extensive military-to-military relationship and expansive cooperation for a number of years. I think our emphasis primarily is bringing the level of civilian cooperation up to the existing level of military cooperation."
"But clearly, one of the key areas in our relationship is the security dimension because we have a shared threat."
Expressing appreciation for the "efforts that Pakistan has taken in recent years to address a threat that is within their borders and is a threat to them as well as to the region as well as to us," Crowley said, "To the extent that Pakistan comes forward with further requirements, we will obviously entertain those."