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India comfortable with US policy on Afghanistan: Blake

world Updated: Jun 09, 2010 12:59 IST
PTI
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India, which initially had a number of concerns about America's Afghan policy, now seems to be comfortable with it after the Strategic Dialogue between the two countries, a top US official said on Wednesday.

"There have been question marks on the part of the Indians about our policy in Afghanistan," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake, said in response to a question in his appearance at a State Department video blog forum.

Specifically, I think they (India), like many other countries, were worried about whether the United States was really going to stay in Afghanistan, Blake said.

"I think President Karzai's recent visit and statements that President Obama and Secretary Clinton made about our long-term commitment to Afghanistan were very reassuring to the Indians and to many other allies in the region," Blake said.

The other kind of area of, I'd say of possible dissonance was the question of reconciliation, where I think the Indians were very concerned that we were somehow going to allow Pakistan to drive this process, he said.

I think they have been reassured by our public statements that President Karzai and Government of Afghanistan really have to control this, he added.

They have also been reassured that we've set some parameters for those that should participate in this kind of dialogue; namely, that people should renounce violence, they should renounce ties to Al-Qaeda, and they should be willing to endorse the current Afghan constitution, Blake said.

"All of those things have helped to reassure the Indians about American intentions in Afghanistan, he observed, adding that Afghanistan was one of the major topics of discussions with Indians at the Indo-US Strategic Dialogue last week," Blake

"India has done really an extraordinary job of providing more than $ 1.3 billion worth of reconstruction and other kinds of assistance which we have welcomed.

And indeed, one of the signs of the convergence in what we're doing now between us in India and the United States in Afghanistan is that we're actually considering joint projects to show that we really do want to work together more in Afghanistan," Blake said.

So I was really struck during this dialogue at the broad convergence of our views on Afghanistan, he said in response to a question.