US urged to revive India-Pakistan talks

Washington, Nov 14 (IANS) A top US think-tank has urged the Obama administration to persuade India to resume talks with Pakistan to reduce tensions in South Asia.

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) also pressed the US to keep its forces in Afghanistan till 2017 to redress India’s concerns, the Dawn newspaper reported on Saturday.

“To reduce the chances of conflict that could delay or hinder India’s global rise, the US should encourage India to improve its relationship with Pakistan, at least to start, through greater trade connectivity,” said a CFR report.

The report, prepared by the CFR task force of American scholars, said the drawdown of US and other external forces in Afghanistan was fuelling India’s concerns about regional instability.

“The task force recommends that the US extend its commitment to Afghanistan – even beyond President Obama’s decision to slow the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and retain a force of some 5,000 US troops in the country into 2017,” it said.

The 90-page report claims that the current US policy towards Pakistan was one of the main hurdles in the development of a strong India-US relationship.

It asked the Obama administration to end sale of any defence equipment to Pakistan if it does not “rein in terror”.

“The US should demand that Pakistan meet its obligations as a state to tackle terrorism emanating from its territory, in both India and Afghanistan.

“If Pakistan is not willing to rein in terror, Washington should be prepared, at minimum, to end US taxpayer funding for defence equipment sales and reimbursement of coalition support funds,” it added.

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