December 2001 News

Kashmir situation not good for Pak: US

4 December 2001
The Times of India
TIMES NEWS NETWORK

NEW DELHI: The situation in Kashmir raises the spectre of conflict between the India and Paksitan, a senior US official said Tuesday.Richard Haass, the director of policy planning for the US State Department, said relations between the United States, India and Pakistan had improved since the September 11 terrorist attacks. However, he expressed concern that the dispute over Kashmir would continue to raise the tension in Kashmir.''I believe that the current situation is not good for the people of Kashmir, for the diplomacy in Kashmir, and not good especially for Pakistan, especially because it raises the risk of conflict between India and Pakistan,'' Haass told a news conference.Haass has held meetings this week with Defence Minister George Fernandes, External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra and Opposition leader Sonia Gandhi.Haass, the US coordinator on policy regarding the future of Afghanistan, declined to answer whether Washington agreed with the Indian view that Pakistan arms, trains and funds Islamic guerrillas to fight Indian forces and carry out terrorist attacks in Kashmir.Haas also said he had no confirmation on reports of Pakistan sending its military helicopters to Kunduz in Afghanistan recently to airlift Pakistani Army regulars assisting the Taliban militia.''We have no confirmation of these reports,'' Haass said.''The Indian government has on its own decided, I believe wisely, to act with restraint on Kashmir,'' Haas said. ''The need right now is to focus and marshal all our energy on Afghanistan and on rooting out the Al-Qaida and the Taliban.''Islamic militants openly raise funds in Pakistan and recruit fighters, and India alleges the Pakistani army helps the rebels sneak across the mountainous frontier into Indian-controlled Kashmir.Pakistan says it backs the rebels, but with ideology, not money or weapons. Islamabad also describes the militants as freedom fighters.Haass hailed Pakistan for taking ''courageous and farsighted decisions'' in allying with the United States after September 11 and distancing itself from the Taliban. He added that Washington''s warming relations with Pakistan were not at the cost of India.''India and Pakistan are two different countries. There is no competition between the two,'' he said. ( AGENCIES )

 

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