US asks India, Pak to contribute to stability in South Asia | delhi | Hindustan Times
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US asks India, Pak to contribute to stability in South Asia

Amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan at the LoC, the US today asked both the countries to contribute to stability and prosperity in the region and hoped a solution will be found to the issues affecting relations between the two neighbours.

delhi Updated: Aug 13, 2013 22:05 IST

Amid heightened tension between India and Pakistan at the LoC, the US on Tuesday asked both the countries to contribute to stability and prosperity in the region and hoped a solution will be found to the issues affecting relations between the two neighbours.

"....we hope both the nations continue to find a solution to current issues and to work towards a greater cooperation and contribute to the stability and prosperity," US Ambassador Nancy Powell said here when asked about the incidents of firing between the two nations along LoC.

On the broader issue of terrorism, she said "we all recognise there is much more that can be done by all countries of the world in countering terrorism and we continue to support that."

She was speaking after releasing Observer Research Foundation's new publication 'America in the Asian Century'.

Terming India as most important partner for the US in the region, she spoke on a range of issues concerning the two countries--from the civil nuclear deal to India's permanent membership in United Nations Security Council.

Emphasising India's importance for the US, Powell said "South Asia is a crucial driver for America's growth and economy and any discussion of South Asia has to start with India. It is a trusted and valuable partner. Our relationship is broader than it has ever been."

On the situation in Afghanistan, particularly after the pullout of the Nato forces next year, Powell said the trilateral dialogue between India, the US and Afghanistan "has provided us a forum for expressing the concerns and developing solutions for the same."

"The Indian Ministry of External Affairs and the US Department of State have established a few channels of discussion. I would like to acknowledge the important role India plays in Afghanistan's future, particularly in terms of business," Powell said.

She added the next round of the trilateral dialogue will be held in New York in September.

Calling the civil nuclear deal between India and US an important part of the relationship, she said there were "some issues" which both the countries have to resolve.

"The civil nuclear deal is a very important part of our relationship. Something we continue to work on. It is a complicated matter to negotiate between two nations.

"There are some issues that we need to resolve but we are also breaking some new grounds here," she said, adding the deal has given a space to work on other global issues as well.

She noted that while Indo-US trade was approaching $100 billion, there was a time when it was just around $3 billion a year.

"India has leapt from our 25th largest trading partner to our 13th largest trading partner in just over a decade. I do believe that bilateral trade can increase far beyond $100 billion annually but there are barriers that must first be addressed, as many of your own reports have stated," the Ambassador said.

On India's efforts to get a permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council, Powell said "the US doesn't have a magic wand. It takes a great deal of collaboration by a number of countries. India has a real role to play in this".