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Updated: June 24, 2013 00:20 IST

Kerry’s soft line on Pakistan a sore subject

Sandeep Dikshit
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on his arrival at Air Force Station, Palam in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: PTI
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on his arrival at Air Force Station, Palam in New Delhi on Sunday. Photo: PTI

Speech on first day of visit focuses on energy, attention on terrorism reference in meeting with Khurshid on Monday

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry avoided associating Pakistan with terrorism and instead advised India to deepen bilateral trade ties with its neighbour. On his first visit after taking over as Secretary of State, Mr. Kerry hoped the two countries build up enough trust to start investing in each other’s economies so that “others could invest in you,” he said in a reference to the hostility between the two countries that keeps many potential investors away.

Mr. Kerry arrived here for the fourth Indo-US Strategic Dialogue that is chaired by the foreign ministers of both countries. Departing from his predecessor Hillary Clinton’s line of commiserating with the victims of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, he opted to sympathise with the victims of the Uttarakhand flash floods instead.

His stance on India-Pakistan ties, articulated during a 45-minute speech this evening, left Indian diplomats displeased because Mr. Kerry has the perception of being soft on Pakistan unlike Ms. Clinton. Diplomats will now wait for the joint statement to be released after his strategic dialogue with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Monday to see if it will mention “safe havens of terrorism”, a euphemism to anti-Kabul elements based in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas such as South Waziristan and Khyber on the Af-Pak border.

Mr. Kerry also said improved India-Pakistan ties are a catalyst for promoting regional trade and connectivity, which in turn could turn around Afghanistan’s fortunes. Last year, India-Pakistan trade had gone up by 21 per cent, but Mr. Kerry said there was still a long way to go. Both countries have had an acrimonious past but there is a new leadership in place in Islamabad which has indicated that economical revival is its number one priority. This approach could mark the “beginning of a new era” and “hopefully improve trust.” While half of his speech was devoted to clean energy and how India needs to be proactive, Mr. Kerry also touched on Afghanistan. India and the U.S. differ on holding talks with the Taliban leadership.

Mr. Kerry sought to draw New Delhi’s attention to next year’s presidential elections in Afghanistan that could mark the first-ever peaceful transition of leadership in recent history. The U.S. wants Taliban to renounce violence, break its ties with Al Qaida and accept the Afghan Constitution before any settlement with the group could be taken up, he said.

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Kerry should shut his trap about India-Pakistan trade until the US signs
a trade agreement with the Taliban. He has no right to speak. He also
needs to prove to India that he's not just a peon of Big Pharma. And he
should remember that India has other nations to join with, specifically
Japan, Russia and Israel. The US needs to chill.

from:  G Subhash
Posted on: Jun 24, 2013 at 13:18 IST

Clearly manipulative. US is playing a game here. They ARE the ones sending out
drones to flesh out terrorists in that country, so they don't trust Pakistan. Tomorrow,
he may testify against India in the congress - who knows what this person is capable
of?

from:  Karthik
Posted on: Jun 24, 2013 at 07:56 IST

His speech was deeply offensive....

from:  Annika
Posted on: Jun 24, 2013 at 02:35 IST

Mr. John Kerry has known through the years many Pakistan's leader
cutting across both political as well as military spectrum. In the
n the past if there was any spat between the USA and Pakistan the leaders of
US would rush Mr. Kerry to Pakistan to pacify them. So he is a well
known "Pakiphile." That said India can still do business with him on a
stern basis knowing fully well where his heart lies. He is not in the
same league as Mrs. Clinton and India need to be very careful dealing
with him.

from:  Raman
Posted on: Jun 24, 2013 at 02:22 IST

We do not seek advises from Kerry, reg. Pak-Ind ties. We gotta move with US Ind trading ties.

from:  Arthi Kumar
Posted on: Jun 24, 2013 at 01:29 IST

The dialogue, with all high powered delegation participation must
transpire into a real partnership in the energy, higher education,
defence & security.
The recent news of India featuring as fifth priority in the cyber
snooping by US is surely a dent to the promise , the dialogue hold
for itself. Until & unless, US Gov't. and agencies show some serious
endeavour and interest for extending true friendship towards India,
such dialogues will always be viewed with suspicion.

from:  Vikash Kumar
Posted on: Jun 23, 2013 at 23:36 IST

This is hightime India put forward its claim for Permanent seat
in UNSC. We are well aware that Kerry has all intentions to
negotiate on the FDI, but India should be cautious enough to gain the
maximum of these talks.

from:  Pravin Kumar
Posted on: Jun 23, 2013 at 22:39 IST

1. Kerry is an anti-Indian in attitude and Pro-Pakistani .
2. The present Defence Secretary of US is too an anti-Indian in
attitude 3 Several incients can be quoted in support of this.
4. Why GOI should intervene in case of Infosys , Satyam , Wipro etc
who mis-use L-1 Visa .
5. The real interets lies in getting access to Indian Manufactured
Goods which are definitely in good in quality compared to Chinese .
6. If we can capture US market for our goods, India will prosper
7. The Need of The Hour : Encourage manufacturing Sectors in India

from:  R Krishnamurthy
Posted on: Jun 23, 2013 at 21:04 IST

Kerry and Chuck Hagel speak no truth and they are anti-indians.

from:  Thennarasu
Posted on: Jun 23, 2013 at 19:17 IST

This visit is not required right now, when the nation should focus on
the natural disaster. If US really cared about working with us, they
would extend their support to help us out in Uttarakhand.

Who cares about a couple more people getting an H1B and leaving India.
Lack of priorities for the Congress government...

from:  Bharath Srivathsan
Posted on: Jun 23, 2013 at 18:45 IST
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