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We understand postponement of talks with Pakistan: Boucher

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Richard Boucher
Richard Boucher

Amit Baruah

Washington wants to see progress on Kashmir issue Describing the July 11 Mumbai terror attacks as a "very tragic incident," he said India needed help to fight terrorism in the region and would find no stronger ally than the U.S. in this.

  • No stronger ally than the U.S. to tackle terror
  • Terror outfits with designs on India had `pieces in Pakistan'
  • Confident U.S. Congress legislation will "reflect" July 18, 2005 understanding

    NEW DELHI: The United States "understands" the postponement of Foreign Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan and hopes the two sides would be able to resume their composite dialogue process at the "appropriate time."

    Taking questions after a public speech on Monday, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher said the U.S. would welcome the resumption of the dialogue process, but it was for India and Pakistan to see when they could do it and how to proceed.

    For progress

    Declaring that the Kashmir issue was not linked to terrorism, he said Washington wanted to see progress on addressing the Jammu and Kashmir question.

    Describing the July 11 Mumbai terror attacks as a "very tragic incident," he said India needed help to fight terrorism in the region and would find no stronger ally than the U.S. in this. Terrorism was a threat to India, the U.S. and Pakistan, and Islamabad had taken a strong stand against it. The U.S. issued an executive order in April to seize the American assets of the Lashkar-e-Taiba or the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the "other name" used by the terrorist outfit.

    Mr. Boucher, here for talks with External Affairs Ministry officials, said terrorism existed in the South Asian region when asked if Washington believed that Pakistan was behind the July 11 terrorist strikes. Some of the terrorist outfits with designs on India had "pieces in Pakistan," he maintained.

    Up to India

    On Indo-Iranian energy cooperation, he said it was up to New Delhi to decide whether Teheran was a reliable and commercially viable energy partner. For its part, the U.S. had not found Iran to be "stable or reliable in anything" in the last 10-20 years.

    On the Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear understanding, he said it was a symbol of what was possible between the two countries. He was "very confident" that U.S. Congress legislation would "reflect" the July 18, 2005 understanding between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and U.S. President George W. Bush.

    The Bush Administration, he said, would continue to work with members of the U.S. Congress on the Bill. Pointing out that India had been talking to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on a safeguards agreement, he said there was a "lot of hard work" that remained to be done.

    In the right direction

    Admitting that both India and the Bush Administration had problems with specific sections in the Senate version of the Bill, the official, however, felt that the deal was going in the right direction.

    When asked about New Delhi's perception that the certifications contained in the Senate Bill would actually amount to an annual Presidential waiver to permit civilian nuclear cooperation with India, Mr. Boucher chose not to give a specific response.


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