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Kashmir solution lies within: Obama

world Updated: Jul 16, 2012 01:08 IST
Jammu and Kashmir

Ruling out any "outside" solution to the Jammu and Kashmir issue, US President Barack Obama on Sunday stated that disputes between India and Pakistan can only be resolved among themselves.

Welcoming the Indo-Pak dialogue process, he said, "It is not the place of any nation, including the United States, to try to impose solutions from outside. That said, nations must meet their responsibilities, and all of us have a profound interest in a Pakistan that is stable, prosperous and democratic."

The US leader was responding to a question on the current state of India-Pakistan relations, and the best way forward for the two countries to resolve their bilateral matters, including that of Jammu and Kashmir.

Obama said the US was in favour of the dialogue process and reduction of tensions — bringing relief to South Asia as well as the rest of the world.

"President (Asif Ali) Zardari's visit to India was encouraging. Increased trade and people-to-people contact between Indians and Pakistanis can lead to greater prosperity and understanding on both sides. Efforts in New Delhi and Islamabad to improve relations give hope for further progress, including a possible visit to Pakistan by Prime Minister (Manmohan) Singh," he said.

The US leader also answered questions on India's role in Afghanistan, a topic that was seen by some comentators as an intent to make India a counterweight to the growing military and economic muscle of China. "India will be critical to Afghanistan's future," he said, pointing out that it had also been critical to Afghanistan's progress till date.

The US President said India's generous contributions have helped India train Afghan police, promote development, and improve the lives of the Afghan people.

India was the first nation to forge a strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan, and India's civil service can be a model for Afghans to strengthen their own governance and institutions, he said.

Obama said that by hosting a recent conference on private investments in Afghanistan, India has displayed readiness to champion the nation's economic development.

This spring's NATO Summit in Chicago had forged a clear path towards bringing the war to a responsible end, he said.

"By the end of 2014, the transition... will be complete, so Afghans can take responsibility for their own country," he said.