December 2002 News

US ‘committed’ to end Kashmir infiltration: Rocca

26 December 2002
The Daily Times
Khalid Hasan

WASHINGTON: Christina Rocca, US assistant secretary of state for South Asia, has said that the United States is “committed to see an end to infiltration into Kashmir out of Pakistan,” while conceding that it has been “reduced.” She says Washington will continue to raise this issue with the Pakistanis “who know it is of critical importance to us.” She also believes that a dialogue with Pakistan is “very much in India’s interest, as it is in Pakistan’s” and “this has been the American message to both countries. We hope this will be recognised soon and that a start can be made to resolving their differences.” She adds that a dialogue process “will not be easy and it will not be quick, but it is the only way to solve the problem.”Rocca makes these and other remarks in an interview published this week by the New York-based journal ‘India Abroad’. About reports alleging Pakistani-North Korean nuclear cooperation, she says, “We have certainly not compromised on our commitment to non-proliferation. This is why Powell had the conversation with President Musharraf about the relationship between Pakistan and North Korea. This is why we have focused so much attention on the Korean nuclear weapons programme. This is why we are so concerned about Iraq. Pakistan recognises very clearly the seriousness of any kind of proliferation involving North Korea and the impact this would have on its relationship with the US.” As to whether Indian fears about the post- 9-11 Pak-US relationship resulting in “military largess” flowing into Pakistan are justified, she says while there is “certainly a security component to our ties with Pakistan, we do not see that as the foundation for strengthening the stability of the country.” She adds that such stability will only come through economic and social reform.” On whether the US is “about to play a proactive role” on Kashmir, Rocca replies, “We are talking to the Kashmiris, to Indians, and to Pakistanis, trying to stimulate more thinking about how to move toward a settlement. We are encouraging people to talk to each other. We are not a passive bystander. In the end though, a resolution will have to come from those directly involved – Kashmiris, the Indians and the Pakistanis.”

 

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