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Obama for strong Indo-Pak ties

world Updated: Jul 23, 2008 23:38 IST

Better diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan are vital for the US to succeed in its war against Taliban militants in Afghanistan, Presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama has said.

“One of the things driven home in the Afghan war is the importance of our diplomatic efforts in Pakistan, which, by the way, may include having a conversation with India.

“We should see if we can lessen some of the tensions between those two countries,” the Illinois senator said while arriving in Jordan on Tuesday after his trip to Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama said the porous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is making it difficult for US troops to defeat the Taliban as the militants often escape by crossing the border.

“A lot of what drives, it appears, motivations on the Pakistan side of the border, still has to do with their concerns and suspicions about India,” he told reporters in Amman. “If we don’t get a handle on that border region, we are going to continue to have problems, and Al-Qaeda is going to be able to continue to project beyond that region,” Obama said.

“We haven’t had a conversation between the Indians and the Pakistanis that has been sustained and meaningful about how they can arrive at a more sensible arrangement between the two countries. That could relieve some of the pressure and help us go after some of these forces along the border regions,” the Democratic senator said.

Running mate: McCain to Jindal

John McCain is to meet Bobby Jindal during a trip to New Orleans this week, reportedly over selection of a running mate by the Republican presidential candidate, The Washington Post said quoting sources close to the McCain campaign.

Stating that McCain’s trip to Louisiana Wednesday was not in his earlier schedule, Chris Cillizz commented on The Fix, that the meeting with Jindal, the state’s Indian American governor since 2007, suggests that “McCain himself is deeply engaged in the process of picking his second-in-command and that the youthful Jindal is under serious consideration”.