The Afghanistan situation — including Washington’s negotiations with a section of the Taliban and its draw-down plans — will figure among the issues to be discussed in the second India-US strategic dialogue on July 19.
“We have been keeping the Indian government informed about preliminary discussions with a section of the Taliban leadership,” US charge d’affaires A Peter Burleigh told reporters.
“We want to reach an understanding with some elements of the Taliban. We (will) do our best to keep the government of India informed about the latest developments,” he added.
Keeping the international redlines — sever links with the al Qaeda, abjure violence and abide by Afghan constitution — apart, New Delhi doesn’t want Pakistan gaining any leverage. India also has concerns over US President Barack Obama’s plan for a phased drawdown of the US troops that includes a withdrawal of 10,000 US troops this year.
The acting US envoy stressed that the US and India have robust interaction over Afghanistan and lauded New Delhi’s role in the reconstruction of the violence-ravaged country.
“India’s role in Afghanistan is welcome. India’s assistance (to that country) is generous,” he said. Burleigh said the situation in Pakistan and the US relations with that country will also figure in the discussions.
Clinton touches down here July 18 on a three-day visit for the second strategic dialogue with her counterpart SM Krishna.
Counter-terrorism, security issues, civil nuclear deal and the situation in the volatile Afghanistan-Pakistan region will be among important issues that Krishna and Clinton will discuss. Clinton will visit Chennai on July 19.