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'India and China have legitimate roles in Afghanistan'

world Updated: Aug 14, 2010 08:23 IST

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The Special US Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, has said that India and China have legitimate roles in Afghanistan.

In an interview to the Charlie Rose show, Holbrooke said US recognizes that other countries have legitimate interests in the security of Afghanistan just the way US has legitimate security interests in regard to its neighbours.

"In this regard we have said publicly and (the US) President (Barack) Obama said publicly that we recognize that Pakistan and other countries, have legitimate security interests in what happens in Afghanistan just like we have legitimate security interests in what happens in our neighbourhood, whether it's missiles in Cuba or what happens in Mexico or Haiti or whatever," he said.

"That was a major step forward in policy development. And this opened up the door to a very sustained strategic dialogue with the Pakistanis which has been lead on our side by Hillary Clinton," he said.

In its discussions with Pakistan, Holbrooke said it has open and had candid exchanges with the Pakistanis on what kind of a security environment they want to have.

"There are other countries who are having similar dialogues with but not perhaps at this level and the two I want to single out are India and China because they also have legitimate roles in the area," Holbrooke said in response to a question.

"This came up when President Obama went to Beijing. It came up with Hillary who went to India for the strategic dialogue. You know she has had strategic dialogues in the last few months with India, Pakistan, China, and Afghanistan," the US official said.

"So what we're looking for here is to embed the Afghan challenge inside a regional approach, and I myself have talked to all of these countries including Russia.

We are looking very much at the bringing the region into a discussion of a peaceful country," he said.