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Updated: April 6, 2010 11:30 IST

Obama's directive for easing India-Pakistan tensions

PTI
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In a secret directive, U.S. President Barack Obama has asked his administration to intensify efforts to make India resolve its tensions with Pakistan, a priority for the progress of the “U.S. goals in the region.”
AP In a secret directive, U.S. President Barack Obama has asked his administration to intensify efforts to make India resolve its tensions with Pakistan, a priority for the progress of the “U.S. goals in the region.”

In a secret directive, United States President Barack Obama has asked his administration to intensify efforts to make India resolve its tensions with Pakistan, a priority for the progress of the “U.S. goals in the region.”

He also asked his officials to intensify American diplomacy, aimed at easing tensions between the two countries, asserting that without detente between them, the administration's efforts to win Pakistani cooperation in Afghanistan would suffer, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The directive, which quoted "people familiar with its contents", and issued in December, concluded that “India must make resolving its tensions with Pakistan a priority for progress to be made on the U.S. goals in the region.” According to officials, the Pentagon, in particular, sought more pressure on New Delhi, it said.

The only specific U.S. request to New Delhi was to “discourage India from getting more involved in training the Afghan military, to ease Pakistani concerns about getting squeezed by India on two borders,” the journal said, quoting U.S. and Indian officials.

The move comes amid continued requests by Pakistan for an intercession by the U.S. in the India-Pakistan disputes, despite a longstanding resistance from India to any mediation by a foreign country.

Pakistan has long regarded Afghanistan as providing “strategic depth” or a buffer zone in a potential conflict with India, and does not want India to have a larger influence in the country.

“Current and former U.S. officials said the discussion in Washington over how to approach India has intensified as Pakistan ratchets up requests that the U.S. intercede in a series of continuing disputes,” it said, adding the White House declined to comment on Mr. Obama's directive or on the debate within the administration over India's policy.

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