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Indo-Pak relations critical for stability of the region: Mullen

world Updated: Dec 03, 2009 11:53 IST

Acknowledging that India is a big player in the region, a top US military leader has said that the relationship between India and Pakistan is critical for the stability in the region.

"India is a big player in that region as well," Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in response to a question at House Committee on Foreign Affairs which held a hearing on Afghanistan.

"I think all of us - international players, particular regional players - have to take steps to stabilise. The relationship between Pakistan and India is critical. Leadership there must, I think, step forward to stabilise that border more than anything else. I think that would be a great step forward in stabilizing the region," Mullen said.

Mullen was responding to a question from Democrat Congressman Donald Payne.

"Is there any way we can impress Pakistan that India is not their biggest enemy, about Kashmir, and have Pakistan concentrate more on Pakistan and stop worrying about India and some India-Pakistan conflict?" Payne asked.

In answer to another question from Congressman Bill Delahunt, the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, said the Obama Administration did consult India on its new Af-Pak policy.