India reacted sharply on Wednesday to the reference to India-Pakistan ties in the joint statement issued by US President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Hu Jintao.
Tuesday’s joint statement had said the US and China “support the improvement and growth of relations between India and Pakistan”.
<b1>The role of any ‘third party’ in bilateral matters between India and Pakistan “cannot be envisaged, nor is it necessary”, a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
“India is committed to resolving all outstanding issues with Pakistan through peaceful dialogue,” the MEA said. “We also believe a meaningful dialogue can take place only in an environment free from terror.”
Defending the joint statement, US Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer said: “I think that is a positive statement.”
But former foreign secretary Kanwar Sibal termed it “ill-timed” and “ill-considered”, and said it disregarded Indian
sensitivities. “It tries to project China as a country that can play an important role in South Asia,” he said.
Strategic affairs expert K Subramanyam, however, noted that the US and China have interfered in South Asia many times in the past and “this joint statement is nothing new”.