Improved Indo-Pak ties real game changer: US
Ready To Negotiate With Mullah Omar
LALIT K JHA\PTI
Washington, Oct 28: Describing the improved Indo-Pak relationship in the region "a real game changer," the US has expressed satisfaction over the progress being made by the two neighbours on improving their bilateral trade and commercial ties.
"I’m very pleased by the progress that both India and Pakistan are making on the commercial front and the progress in implementing the transit trade agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told US lawmakers at a Congressional hearing.
Clinton said Pakistan's civilian and military leadership both want progress with India and a better relationship between the two South Asian neighbours is the real game changer in the region.
"The real game changer in the region is not so much our bilateral relationship as the relationship between Pakistan and India. And the more that there can be progress, the more likely there can be even more progress," the Secretary of State said yesterday in response to a question.
She pointed out the "successful visits" on the foreign and commerce minister level over the last several months and said that announcements have been made to try to streamline visas for businesses, and do more to accelerate movement across borders.
"And then the most favoured nation status is a really important development," Clinton said.
"So we encourage it. We try to tell both sides how much it will change their relationship," she said, adding that she firmly believes greater regional economic integration would revolutionise the economy in Pakistan. India's a huge market, and Pakistan produces things that India needs. But they don't get into India in any direct and cost effective way. So the more we can do that, the better," Clinton said.
‘READY TO NEGOTIATE WITH MULLAH OMAR’
The United States would be willing to negotiate with Afghanistan's Taliban leader Mullah Omar if he met conditions that have been laid out, Hillary said.
Hillary did not dismiss the prospect when asked by Republican Representative Steve Chabot, whether reconciliation talks with the Taliban and other insurgents would include talks with Omar.
"You don't make peace with your friends," she said, speaking days after concluding a week-long trip that included stops in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
But there first would have to be a demonstrated willingness on the Taliban's part to negotiate and to meet the laid out conditions: Insurgents must renounce violence, abandon Al Qaeda, and abide by the constitution of Afghanistan, including its protections for women and minorities.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 28 Oct 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 28 Oct 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Oct 2011 00:00:00 IST
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