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Updated: December 24, 2009 01:03 IST

Holbrooke: I am not working on India-Pakistan ties

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U.S. special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke at a meeting in Islamabad. File Photo: AP
U.S. special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke at a meeting in Islamabad. File Photo: AP

Making it clear that he is not an envoy for India-Pakistan ties, the United States Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, on Wednesday said he gave great importance to India in the region and constantly consulted it on the Obama administration’s Af-Pak policies.

“I am not an envoy, my title isn’t special envoy ... and I’m not working on Indian-Pakistani relations,” Mr. Holbrooke told Charlie Rose of the Public Broadcasting Service news channel in an interview.

A regular to India

“My responsibilities extend only to Afghanistan and Pakistan, but I consult and keep the Indians informed at all times. I have travelled there regularly and I’m looking forward to going early next year on my next trip if I can work out the logistics,” he said in response to a question.

“But I do not work on Islamabad-New Delhi relations. That is for the two countries to work out for themselves. We will always support anything the two countries agree to,” Mr. Holbrooke said.

Regions “interlinked”

However, he did observe that India, Pakistan and Afghanistan were interlinked. “There are three countries involved here: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Pakistan’s giant neighbour to the east, India. And the history of these three countries is deeply inter-related,” he said.

“The relations between India and Pakistan are steeped in the history that goes back to 1947. And one has to accept that history. You can’t change history, and it’s deep in the feelings of both countries. But as President [Barack] Obama said, any improvement in relations between two countries would be good for the region and we would support that,” he said.

Great progress

Mr. Holbrooke said the 11 months of Mr. Obama’s presidency had made great progress in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“We’ve made great progress in getting people to recognise that we have a common threat and a common task. When I say ‘we,’ I mean the United States, Pakistan, and India. We all face the same enemy. This is the first time this has been true since independence. And this is something which has become more and more clear,” he said.

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