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US not negotiating between India and Pakistan: Holbrooke

world Updated: Jan 08, 2010 11:00 IST

US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke has denied that he is working to resolve tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad, adding that Washington values its relationship with both south Asian nations.

"That's not my job, and nor is it something that would be productive if I were to undertake it," he said Thursday commenting on reports in a section of Pakistani media that he was negotiating between India and Pakistan.

"I cannot stress highly enough that the Indian relationship is important to the US, Pakistan relationship is important to the US and in my view the argument that we favour one country over the other is a legacy of the past," he said, speaking at Brookings Institute, a Washington think tank.

"I do not believe it is justified by the policies we are taking right now," he added.

Stressing that his job does not include India, Holbrooke said: "I am the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. I never sought to be the representative or envoy for India."

But he acknowledged India has legitimate concerns about what happens in the Af-Pak region and he keeps New Delhi fully informed of his activities on a regular basis through the Indian Ambassador to the US, Meera Shankar.

"She and I see each other frequently," he said, noting: "Everyone understands that India has a legitimate concern for what happens in the region, but I am not negotiating issues between India and Pakistan."

Terming India "a great country", he said "we have an excellent ambassador there, Tim Roemer, and he represents us. And we have a wide range of bilateral relationships which would not, under any circumstances, involve me."

Holbrooke, who is travelling to Pakistan and Afghanistan next week, also saw improvement in Pakistani attitude to the United States over the last one year.

Pakistan is working its way through a series of issues, he said, citing Islamabad's successful anti-militant operations last year.

America's basic national security interests are at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Holbrooke said, reaffirming the Obama administration's support for Pakistan in economic development, water and energy fields.