Kashmir Bilateral Issue Between India and Pakistan: US

By Arun Kumar

Washington, Nov 5 (IANS) With President Barack Obama arriving in India Saturday, the US has reiterated its hands off approach on Kashmir saying while it supported an India-Pakistan dialogue, "clearly it is something that the two need to resolve" directly.

"As you've heard repeatedly from others in the Administration, we support and encourage ongoing efforts between India and Pakistan to resolve their issues directly," US National Security Council Spokesman Mike Hammer said Thursday.

"We've seen some efforts in the past and the meetings that they've had are encouraging, but clearly it is something that the two need to resolve," he said briefing foreign media on Obama's "very important trip to Asia".

The 10-day trip takes Obama to India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan and includes two major economic summits, the G-20 in Seoul and the APEC summit in Yokohama.

Asked by a Pakistani correspondent how Islamabad should view Obama's visit to India, Hammer said: "The United States does enjoy very positive and fruitful relations with both countries, with both India and Pakistan. And one is not at the expense of the other."

On the issue of sharing information on Pakistani American David Headley, who has confessed to his role in 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Hammer said US had provided India access to Headley and "shared information relating to terrorist threats as we had them at the time that we had them."

"The Director of National Intelligence was conducting an after-action review to look back and see if there are lessons learned that can be taken from whatever information was out there," he said.

Hammer said US enjoys "terrific and excellent counterterrorism cooperation with India," and Obama "administration in particular has gone to great lengths to make sure that we are working together."

"Both India and the United States suffered tragic losses in the Mumbai bombing and it's a shared experience. And we both. want to ensure that incidents like this never occur."

"In the broad umbrella, I can assure you that strengthening counterterrorism cooperation will be on the agenda" of
talks between President Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he said.

On US companies' concerns about the nuclear liability law despite India signing the Convention on Supplementary Compensation, Hammer said the US saw it as "a positive step" and "It's something that's continuing to be worked and that the American companies are addressing themselves."



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