India, Pakistan and the United States face a common threat for the first time ever in the Taliban, US special representative Richard Holbrooke said in Delhi as he wound up a fact-finding trip to the region.
“For the first time in 60 years, your country, Pakistan and the US all face an enemy that poses direct threats to our leaderships, our capitals and our people,” he said after meeting Pranab Mukherjee.
“I do want to underscore the fact that what happened in Swat demonstrates a key point and that is that India, US and Pakistan all have a common threat now.”
In a meeting at the US ambassador’s residence, Holbrooke wanted to know what India would do in case it faced another Mumbai-style attack.
He told the gathering that Washington had far more influence over Islamabad than New Delhi.
He said the Obama administration was trying hard to re-orient the Pakistan army from a conventional mould into a counter-insurgency force, one participant at the meeting told HT. He was also keen on eliciting responses on how India and Indians assessed the recent Pakistani investigation into the Mumbai attacks. “I carried no messages or guidance. I just wanted to hear the views of India on a wide range of issues,” he said.
Speaking to reporters about his visit to Pakistan last week, Holbrooke said, “When I was in the tribal areas and, I did not go to Swat but I was in Peshawar. I talked to people from Swat... They were frankly quite terrified.” He said the virtual takeover of Swat had “really, deeply affected the people of Pakistan not just in Peshawar, but in Lahore and in Islamabad”.
A South Block official said Indian interlocutors had a useful exchange of views with Holbroooke; kicking off a process of consultations which would continue.