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Ties with Pakistan, India: US no more to pursue balanced policy

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    Ties with Pakistan, India: US no more to pursue balanced policy

    Ties with Pakistan, India: US no more to pursue balanced policy

    WASHINGTON, July 22: A senior US official has clearly stated that the days of "even-handedness and balance" in US policy
    towards India and Pakistan are now over, signalling a major shift in how Washington would deal with the two countries in future.

    "in the past there have been attempts to impose intellectual constructs such as balance or even-handedness on American foreign policy towards India and Pakistan... Those days are over, if indeed they ever existed," State Department's Senior Adviser for South Asia Mathew Daley, told the Indian-American Friendship Council here last on Tuesday.
    No Pakistani correspondents were invited for the Daley speech which was reported in detail by Indian newspapers. His well studied comments were the loudest and the clearest indication of the direction the US policy would take in the coming months and
    years, especially after Kargil internationalised the Kashmir situation to Pakistan's detriment.
    Daley said America's relations with India and Pakistan were going to have their own separate vectors, trajectories and velocities.
    "At any given moment, on any given topic, we might appear to be even-handed, but that will be an incidental outcome of a policy,not the objective of a policy," he said.
    The Indo-US relationship is at the crossroads and much will depend on what will happen in the coming months, Daley said, arguing
    that the administration's objective was not only to return to the status quo ante of May 1998 but also one that established a
    qualitatively different kind of relationship.
    Daley, who will accompany Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to Singapore for meeting Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh
    said the dialogue that had been conducted by Mr. Singh and the Deputy Secretary of State, Mr Strobe Talbott, "stands out in the
    history of bilateral relations as the most comprehensive and the most intensive exchange of its type."
    "I doubt if there has been a period of time when there was greater appreciation and even sympathy for each other's views," he said
    elaborating on the prospects of future Indo-US relations.
    "China remains an important factor in the Indian strategic calculus. It is not easy for India to sort out all of this, and this is a process that is going to be high on the agenda of the new government. Coming to a new strategic consensus in India is going to be a
    significant challenge," Mr Daley remarked.
    There are many converging interests between India and the US, Daley said, singling out the maintenance free sea lanes. "I would put
    forth as a matter of faith that India is going to adopt a deepening and broadening of economic policy reform. Once it does so, its
    stake in international commerce is going to grow and grow dramatically. And as that happens, India's stake in seeing that the sea
    lanes are kept free and open is going to rise rather significantly."
    On Kargil and in the shaping of American policy, he said that as India and Pakistan had become overtly nuclear weapons states,
    they had accepted the unwritten obligation to follow different rules of conduct.
    "The central lesson of the Cold War was that nuclear armed states cannot challenge each other militarily and directly," Mr Daley
    remarked, saying that this principle as well as others formed American policy as the administration analysed Kargil.
    He reiterated that both India and Pakistan would have to sort out contentious issues amongst themselves, and that one of the
    concerns of the Clinton Administration was the kind of damage that was done to the Lahore process as a result of the recent conflict in Kargil.
    On the future "rounds" of dialogue between India and the US Daley maintained that no other round had been scheduled except the
    meeting between Albright and Jaswant Singh.
    Senior officials from the two countries could meet at the UN this fall during the General Assembly session.


    If US wants to mediate in this matter, they will have to win confidence of India, these comments may be aimed at that.