Lalit K Jha
Washington: The US has ruled out any mediation on the Kashmir issue as long as India rejects such a proposal and asked Pakistan to avoid employing militancy as an instrument of state policy.
“As long as India rejects any actual mediation there’s not much we can do in that regard specifically,” Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins told state-run Pakistani Television (PTV).
“India has consistently rejected any third party mediation and argued that this is an issue that needs to be negotiated directly and without the participation of any third party. So they’ve rejected mediation,” said Dobbins, who was recently on a visit to Pakistan.
“I think as long as they reject mediation, there is only a limited amount that the US or any other party can do. We certainly in our dialogue with Pakistan and India encourage improved relations, encourage improved trade relations, encourage improved dialogue on strategy and military issues, and we certainly encourage dialogue and negotiation on the territorial issues that separate the two countries,” he said.
Echoing India’s concerns over cross-border militancy, he said India certainly is concerned about cross-border militancy and attacks that have been conducted in India which they believe had their origin on Pakistani territory.
“I think as is the case with Afghanistan, this is something that’s in everybody’s interest. I think all of the states of the region need to avoid employing militancy as an instrument of policy,” he said.
“That this has been a long-term strategy which has created a cancer in societies and particularly in Pakistani society which is now threatening of the actual existence of the state and of its democratic institutions,” he said.
“So it’s in the interest not just of Pakistan, but of Pakistan and all of its neighbors to move away from that approach to diplomacy and to geopolitical strategy, and to avoid employing these kinds of instruments and, as I’ve said, move toward the elimination of violent extremism in Pakistan and around Pakistan and all of the neighboring societies,” Dobbins said.
Referring to the on-going Lok Sabha elections, Dobbins said India will have a new government soon.
“It will be a new opportunity. Pakistan now has a government that still has a long life in it with a clear political mandate,” he said.
“I think two governments with clear political mandates and a long future in each case offer an opportunity for both governments to take some of the risks and the political costs that are always inherent in any real opportunity to overcome differences. The US will certainly use its influence to encourage both sides to take those risks,” he said.