‘A third country role cannot be envisaged. Nor is it necessary’

A day after U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao issued a joint statement, which briefly mentioned India and Pakistan, the Ministry of External Affairs said India did not envisage a role by a third party in what was essentially a bilateral dispute.

“The Government of India is committed to resolving all outstanding issues with Pakistan through a peaceful bilateral dialogue in accordance with the Simla Agreement. A third country role cannot be envisaged. Nor is it necessary. We also believe that a meaningful dialogue with Pakistan can take place only in an environment free from terror or the threat of terror,” the Ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said in a statement.

The relevant portion of the joint statement stated that “the two sides [U.S. and China] welcomed all efforts conducive to peace, stability and development in South Asia. They support the efforts of Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight terrorism, maintain domestic stability and achieve sustainable economic and social development, and support the improvement and growth of relations between India and Pakistan. The two sides are ready to strengthen communication, dialogue and cooperation on issues related to South Asia and work together to promote peace, stability and development in that region.”

U.S. Ambassador Timothy Roemer, however, said the intention was to promote more stable ties among South Asian countries.

Mr. Roemer said while he did not take a close look at the statement, his perception was that the U.S. and China had expressed their desire for a more stable and peaceful relationship between the countries in South Asia. “I think that is a very positive statement to make.”

The U.S. was trying to “make sure there is a prosperous and peaceful rise of China” and “at the same time, have historic close relations between the U.S. and India.”

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