The United States has told Pakistan it would keep up "very strong and growing partnership" with India even as it tries to improve its partnership with Pakistan saying "this isn't a zero-sum game."
"The first thing I would say to Pakistanis is that this isn't a zero-sum game," State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters on Monday when asked how Washington was addressing Pakistanis' concern about growing US relationship with India.
"We have a very strong and growing partnership with India. We have a partnership with Pakistan that we're trying to improve on," he said in response to questions about a Gallup Pakistan poll indicating more than 67 percent Pakistanis polled feel that US is their greatest enemy as against 18 per cent who still consider traditional rival India so.
In the 21st century "we need to get away from these views of ... if we're a supporter or we have a good relationship with India, that impacts the relationship with Pakistan," Wood said though people in the region do see it that way," Wood said.
US will continue to work with both India and Pakistan and other countries to try to deal with some very difficult challenges not only from terrorism but from poverty, illiteracy, drought, disease, Wood said.
"But we have to move away from these old stereotypes and work with one another in the 21st century to defeat these common enemies that we do face"
The State Department official said the poll was "obviously very concerning" and indicated "We clearly have a lot of work to do. ...We need to obviously do a better job of telling our story to the Pakistani people and to others around the world."
Asked if ongoing drone attacks in going after the Taliban with or without Pakistan's tacit consent hampered US efforts to address Pakistanis' concerns, Wood declined to comment as per "standard practice" on that particular issue.
"But let me just say we're well aware of the challenges that the people of Pakistan face," he said. "And as we've said, we're Pakistan's partner. We're with Pakistan in this battle against violent extremism, and we will be with them every step of the way."