By Arun Kumar
Washington, June 5 (IANS) The United States says it has encouraged Pakistan to show progress on the trial of Mumbai attack suspects and stopping Lashkar-e-Taiba and other Punjab-based anti-India terrorist groups to help the two neighbours re-establish their composite dialogue.
"I think those are really the redlines that they've established for really establishing or re-establishing their composite dialogue," Assistant Secretary for South Asia Robert Blake said in an interview with BBC Friday. "And so those are areas where I think we can help and encourage our Pakistani friends to move forward, and indeed we have."
"I don't think Kashmir is really the question that's on the table now," he said when asked what Washington could do help resolve the Kashmir issue to bring about peace between India and Pakistan.
"The real question right now is to first, I think, get some progress on the trial of the Mumbai suspects, those who are already in custody in Pakistan; and also from the Indian perspective to see progress by Pakistan on stopping actions by Lashkar-e-Taiba and other Punjab-based terrorist groups against India," Blake said.
The US has also reassured India that the arms exported to Pakistan were for the purposes of helping it "pursue its counterinsurgency efforts in the border areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan, certainly not directed against India, and that we have end use monitoring provisions to assure ourselves of that."
Blake did not think India was really worried that the US might sacrifice India's interests while it seeks Pakistan's help in the region, particularly when it comes to Afghanistan.
"We've had extensive talks with our Indian friends, not only during the course of this strategic dialogue but previously. So I think they understand very well what we're trying to accomplish in both Afghanistan, and in Pakistan," he said.
India-Pakistan relations is "a part of the dialogue in the sense that we're always interested in seeing if peace can be enhanced between these two very important partners of the United States," Blake said.
"But we have always said that it is really up to India and Pakistan themselves to resolve this and that the pace, scope and character of their dialogue is really completely up to them."
"So we are more in the mode of just encouraging peace on both sides and encouraging both sides to address each other's concerns as much as possible."