No Link Between UNSC Seat for India and Kashmir: US

By Arun Kumar

Washington, Oct 1 (IANS) The United States has discounted reports that President Barack Obama would endorse India's permanent membership of UN Security Council in return for resolving the Kashmir issue, saying there is no link between them.

"I don't see a link between the two," said State Department spokesman Phillip Crowley when asked about reports that during his India visit, Obama may offer New Delhi a seat on the international high table if it agreed to resolving the long standing dispute with Pakistan.

"I mean, we want to see India and Pakistan work collectively together to resolve tensions regarding Kashmir," he told reporters Thursday

"And we understand that India and a number of countries and the United States are also interested in UN reform, including reforms within the Security Council," Crowley said. "Those are conversations which are ongoing with a wide range of countries."

Asked if the Security Council seat was going to be a big agenda item for Obama when he goes to India in November, Crowley said: "It is an issue that comes up in our ongoing dialogue with India. I can't predict whether it will come up in November."

Meanwhile, Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, who was here to lay the groundwork for the Obama visit Thursday met the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Crowley described it as a follow up on Clinton's meetings with Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna in New York and Defence Minister A. K. Antony here.

"But they will continue a similar agenda, talking about developments in our bilateral relationship and preparations for the President's upcoming trip to India," he said.

Menon Wednesday met his US counterpart General James Jones. Earlier, he had meetings on the Capitol Hill with several prominent lawmakers including Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry, 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Independent senator Joseph Lieberman.


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