Noting that no nation has suffered more from terrorism than India, an influential US lawmaker wants Washington to help it break with the perilous politics of South Asia's past for the long-term safety of the US, Pakistan and India.
"First, we have to help India break with the perilous politics of South Asia's past," said Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday at the confirmation hearing of Tim Roemer as the new US ambassador to India.
"India needs no lectures. Virtually no nation has suffered more from terrorism than India, he said. "South Asia is also a volatile nuclear flashpoint."
The recently passed Kerry-Lugar bill to triple US non-military aid to Pakistan to recast US relationship with Islamabad, "wll help us to secure the long-term safety not only of the US and Pakistan, but of India as well," Kerry said.
Kerry, a former Democratic presidential candidate who visited India shortly after the Mumbai terror attacks, said: "I know the volatility that was felt then. But the degree to which there is still an excessive focus on India-Pakistan border issues is really almost an anachronism in today's world. And we need to work to move beyond that."
If confirmed, Roemer will be representing US at an exciting and potentially pivotal moment in US-India relations, he said "the Obama administration has a genuine opportunity to forge a true strategic US-India partnership, not as a threat or counterweight against any other nation but based on shared interests and shared values."
"If we get this right, it will benefit not only our nations but also the region and the world. There are many areas where we can make real progress," Kerry said.
He and several other senators had supported a civilian-nuclear deal with India, in part because it will help India grow its economy with clean energy, he said. "I hope this will now open the door to greater cooperation on non-proliferation."
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Kerry said, "will be carrying a message of friendship, to India, during her visit later this month to engage with India's newly re-elected leadership."