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'Mention of Kashmir by Obama will be potentially explosive'

Any mention of Kashmir by US President Barack Obama during his trip to India can be potentially explosive, a top American strategic expert has said, adding that Pakistan will dominate in his talks with Manmohan Singh.

world Updated: Nov 02, 2010 08:46 IST

Any mention of Kashmir by US President Barack Obama during his trip to India can be potentially explosive, a top American strategic expert has said, adding that Pakistan will dominate in his talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Noting that Obama's visit would take place against the backdrop of the revival of Kashmiri question, Bruce Riedel of Brookings Institute in his latest comment on the region said that Pakistan will move to capitalise on the unrest.

"The intifada that exploded this summer in Kashmir cannot be ignored by the President during the visit but any comments on it will be potentially explosive," said Riedel, a former CIA official, who is a known American expert on South Asian affairs.

He said Obama and Singh need to cooperate to help Pakistan solve its jihadist nightmare. It cannot be resolved by outsiders, nor can it be contained and isolated from the outside.

"Senior Indian officials in private say that New Delhi and Washington now share a common diagnosis of the problems, but neither has developed a strategy that promises success."

"It is an increasingly urgent concern, but one that does not have any magical answers. Both agree that engagement with Pakistan is the only way forward, but neither feels satisfied that its engagement is working," he said.

"The third parties also involved, particularly Pakistan's ally China, will also figure extensively in the private talks. Obama is keen to find ways to use regional diplomacy to strengthen Pakistan, and Beijing must be a player in that process," Riedel said.

"By all accounts, Obama and Singh have developed a good working relationship. They will have to brain-storm together about how they can collaborate to rescue the sick man of South Asia," he said.

Riedel said Pakistan will dominates the private conversations between the President, Singh and Congress leader Sonia Gandhi because it is the future of Pakistan that is the most uncertain question in South Asia today.

"Pakistan has become the most dangerous country in the world for everyone but especially for the US and India. It is the epicenter of the global jihadist movement that attacked New York in 2001 and Mumbai in 2008. Its weak civilian government may have good intentions, but seems powerless to address the country's multiple crises," he said.