Holbrooke in India, to discuss Afghan-Pak strategy today | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Holbrooke in India, to discuss Afghan-Pak strategy today

delhi Updated: Apr 09, 2009 09:55 IST

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Amid the US' keenness to see India resume talks with Pakistan, Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday night to discuss how New Delhi could help Washington's strategy aimed at ending terror threats emanating from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, will meet Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and National Security Adviser M K Narayanan on Wednesday.

Holbrooke came after visiting Pakistan, where he underlined that economic and military aid provided by the US would be linked to Islamabad's concrete support to war against Al-Qaida.

Holbrooke is expected to discuss with Indian officials ways in which New Delhi could cooperate in US efforts to "defeat" terrorism originating from Pakistan and Afghanistan, the sources said.

The US has sought to link its strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan for resumption of Indo-Pak dialogue.

Washington argues that resumption of the dialogue would ease pressure on Islamabad and allow it to help America in the war in Afghanistan.

India maintains that the US needs to focus on targeting terror bases in Pakistan if the scourge is to be rooted out. It also believes that Islamabad is lacking capability or will to target terror bases in Pakistan and hence the international community needs to act collectively and assertively.

'No plans to mediate between India, Pakistan'

The US has no plans to mediate between India and Pakistan, the American Special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan said on day, as he stressed on the need for the two neighbours to normalise relations.

"We cannot negotiate between the two countries," said Richard Holbrooke, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He underlined the need for the India and Pakistan to normalise relations that was strained after the terrorists attacks in Mumbai last year. Holbrooke refused to say anything in response to a question on the US playing a role in resolving the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.

The US Special Representative said the terrorists attacks in Mumbai were an act of "strategic terrorism" aimed at starting a war between Pakistan and India but the perpetrators failed to achieve their objective.

"The terrorists' goal was to start a war but they failed," Holbrooke said during an interaction with a group of journalists here after his meetings with top Pakistani leaders.

Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, was also present. Referring to the regional situation, Holbrooke said the top Taliban leadership is hiding in Pakistan and controlling the militants fighting the US-led forces in Afghanistan.

"The Taliban leadership is in Pakistan and Taliban militants are fighting in Afghanistan," he said before leaving for India.

However, the US believes the drone strikes have a "tactical advantage" as they have eliminated "lots of high-value targets that were a threat to the US and Pakistan," Qureshi said.

He also expressed appreciation for the support provided by the US for democracy in Pakistan and a "10-fold increase" in aid for the country.

Holbrooke, making his second visit here since his appointment as the Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, said the Obama administration was forging a "new and constructive engagement" with Pakistan as the interests of both countries run in parallel.

The two countries also faced a "common strategic threat, a common enemy and a common challenge," he said.

Mullen, the Chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the America had a long-term commitment to Pakistan that he hoped would "generate a surplus of trust."

The US has pledged billions of dollars in additional aid to Pakistan to help it fight terrorism on its soil, but wants to link the assistance to Islamabad's performance in the war against Al-Qaeda and Taliban.