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India, China should play constructive role in Afghanistan: US

November 01, 2011 17:54 IST

Ahead of the crucial Istanbul conference on Afghanistan, the United States has said it wants India and China to play a "constructive role" in bringing long-term peace to the war-torn country.

"We've talked with both capitals about very constructive roles that they can play," a senior Obama administration official said on Monday evening.

Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman, was recently in India and China, and held talks with authorities in both countries in the run-up to Wednesday's Istanbul conference and the role these two countries can play in bringing long-term peace to the country.

"We've continued to talk with both countries, through a series of diplomatic engagements. Ambassador Grossman was in both Beijing and New Delhi on his most recent trip to the region over the last few weeks, and this continues in a range of other settings," the administration official said.

"Certainly, when the Secretary (of State) was in India over the summer, she talked in particular about the vision of the New Silk Road, which would ideally extend not just through Central Asia to Afghanistan and Pakistan, but ultimately through India," the official said, referring to the initiative announced by Clinton in her Chennai speech.

The official also appreciated the recent efforts to improve trade and economic ties between India and Pakistan.

"I think we've seen some very positive steps from both the Indians and the Pakistanis over the past few months on facilitating more trade between the countries, which is in the national security and economic interests of both countries," the official said.

"Similarly, we've talked with China about kind of key roles that they can play. Obviously, both countries (India and China) recognise the enormous interests that they have in stability in the region, and the ways that they would benefit from that. So we will -- we will continue those conversations with them," said the senior administration official.

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