Home > US Edition > PTI > Report
Armitage to visit South Asia,
try to ease Indo-Pak tension
April 24, 2003 10:16 IST
Initiating steps to ease Indo-Pak tension and stop cross-border infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir would top the agenda of US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage during his forthcoming visit to the sub-continent, US state department spokesman Richard Boucher has said.
The visit comes in the background of a warning by the CIA that Pakistan continues to support terrorist groups in Jammu and Kashmir and that the cycles of tension between India and Pakistan are growing shorter.
"Pakistan continues to support groups that resist India's presence in Kashmir in an effort to bring India to the negotiating table," CIA Director George Tenet said in a recent speech before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
He said even though India's recent military redeployment away from the border reduced the danger of imminent war, the underlying cause of tension is unchanged.
"Indian frustration with continued terrorist attacks, most of which it attributes to Pakistan, causes New Delhi to reject any suggestion that it resume a dialogue with Islamabad," Tenet said.
Without progress on resolving Indo-Pakistan differences, said Tenet, "any dramatic provocation -- like 2001's terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament by Kashmiri militants -- runs a high risk of sparking another major military deployment."
Though Armitage's exact itinerary is still being worked out, he is planning to travel from May 5 to 11 to India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and preparations were underway, Boucher told reporters in Washington on Wednesday.
Elaborating the major aims of Armitage's visit, he said, "There are plenty of bilateral issues and then there is also the relationship between India and Pakistan, looking for more steps that can be taken to ease the tensions, stop the infiltration and look towards a dialogue between the two."
"We have a strong and continuing interest in our relationships with South Asian countries and in promoting peace and stability in the region. Deputy Secretary Armitage will travel to further those goals," he said.
"So without getting more specific, at this point we will see where we are when he actually goes," he said.
Each of his individual stops, said Boucher, is important for the relationships (of the US with those countries). He has a chance to push forward the political and reconstruction process that is ongoing in Afghanistan, he added.
|© Copyright 2003 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.|