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Obama's controversial stance on Kashmir
November 05, 2008 16:34 IST
Last Updated: November 05, 2008 17:15 IST
Barack Obama [Images], whose election as United States President has been widely welcomed in India, has views on Kashmir which may not go down well with the foreign policy establishment in New Delhi [Images].
In a recent interview to Time magazine, he wondered why India wants to 'keep on messing' with the Kashmir issue which is a 'potential tar pit diplomatically'.
Working with Pakistan and India to try to resolve the Kashmir "crisis in a serious way are critical tasks" for the next administration, he said.
New Delhi has been vocal in its consistent opposition to any third party mediation in Kashmir.
"Kashmir in particular is an interesting situation where that is obviously a potential tar pit diplomatically. But for us to devote serious diplomatic resources to get a special envoy in there, to figure out a plausible approach, and essentially make the argument to the Indians, you guys are on the brink of being an economic superpower, why do you want to keep on messing with this," he asked.
His line to Pakistan was, "look at India and what they are doing, why do you want to keep on being bogged down with this particularly at a time where the biggest threat now is coming from the Afghan border? I think there is a moment where potentially we could get their attention. It won't be easy, but it's important".
On whether this was a job cut out for former US President Bill Clinton [Images], Obama said, "might not be bad. I actually talked to President Clinton about this when we had lunch in Harlem.
Coverage: US Elections 2008
Meanwhile, Obama's election has generated hope among separatists in Kashmir that the decades-long Kashmir issue would be solved soon.
Welcoming the election of Obama, chairman of Moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umer Farooq said "We see a role for US in the resolution of Kashmir issue and hope that Obama will fulfill his responsibility."
Mirwaiz, who has been placed under house arrest since this morning ahead of proposed the Jamia Masjid march by separatists, said "We hope that he (Obama) will give practical shape to his encouraging statements on resolution of Kashmir during campaigning."
Meanwhile, chairman of hardline faction of Hurriyat Syed Ali Shah Geelani said the election of Obama is a 'historic event' for America and added, "We hope that he will use his good offices to resolve Kashmir issue in its historic perspective."
Geelani, who is undergoing treatment in Delhi, said bilateral talks between India and Pakistan have failed to deliver in the past.
Geelani also hoped that Obama's election would bring a positive change in the foreign policy of that country.
"There is a need for a change in American foreign policy... It has to abandon use of brute force in other countries," he said.
"We will also welcome him if he puts an immediate end to the killings in Pakistani soil where the bombing by NATO forces deployed in Afghanistan have killed innocent civilians on the pretext of fighting Al-Qaeda [Images] or terrorism," he said.
Congratulating Obama on his election, Jammu and Kashmir [Images] Liberation Front said his recent statements with regard to Kashmir are encouraging.
"Kashmiris are hopeful that he will use good offices in resolution of Kashmir issue," senior vice president of JKLF
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