U.S. wants greater role for India in Afghanistan

NEW DELHI Tue Jun 5, 2012 2:43pm EDT

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta encouraged Indian leaders on Tuesday to take a more active role in Afghanistan as international forces leave, saying Washington viewed Pakistan's long-time rival as a source of regional security.

Panetta, in the first of two days of talks with Indian officials, "underscored the link India plays between East and West Asia and how the United States views India as a net provider of security from the Indian Ocean to Afghanistan and beyond," Pentagon spokesman George Little said.

India signed a security agreement with Afghanistan last year and has longstanding ties with Kabul, but the relationship is viewed with suspicion by Pakistan. The Afghan conflict is considered by some to be a proxy war between the two nuclear neighbors.

Pakistan's ISI intelligence agency, for example, was suspected of being behind the 2008 suicide bombing that killed 41 people at the Indian Embassy in Kabul, a charge Islamabad denies. India has voiced concern about resurgent Islamic extremism in Afghanistan once international forces withdraw.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged the longstanding rivalry between India and Pakistan for influence in Afghanistan but insisted that both countries had an interest in working with the international community to ensure stability in their northern neighbor.

"There is a risk that the tensions and historical mistrust between India and Pakistan could lead them to view their respective roles in Afghanistan as being in conflict," one official said. "This is not predestined. This does not have to be the case."

Pakistan wields considerable influence over neighboring Afghanistan, while India is already one of its biggest bilateral donors, having pledged about $2 billion since the 2001 U.S. led-invasion for projects from the construction of highways to the building of the Afghan parliament.

In October, India and Afghanistan signed a wide-ranging agreement to deepen ties, including to help train Afghan security forces, a deal that angered Pakistan.

"India and Pakistan share an interest, the same interest that we have, of peace and stability in Afghanistan," the U.S. official said. "That makes Pakistan more peaceful and stable and it makes India a lot more stable."

REFOCUS ON ASIA

Panetta flew to India as part of his week-long Asia tour to explain a new U.S. military strategy to allies and partners in the region. The strategy calls for a shift in U.S. focus to the Asia-Pacific region.

Panetta discussed the strategy and India's security role in the region in meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon.

The new U.S. security strategy singled out U.S. efforts to build a deeper security partnership with India, the only country mentioned by name in that regard.

U.S. officials said that was a mark of the respect with which the United States holds India, even while recognizing that New Delhi has a long history of non-alignment with superpowers and is unlikely to want to enter into a formal treaty alliance.

India's involvement in Afghanistan so far has been limited in scope. It has trained Afghan army and police over the past decade on a relatively small scale, the U.S. officials said. It has also increasingly helped Afghanistan with its economic reconstruction, the officials said.

"As we look to the future development of peace and stability in Afghanistan ... we know that the regional actors, Afghanistan's neighbors and extended neighbors like India will play a greater role," one official said.

"That's historically been the case in Afghanistan and that's going to be the case again. And we welcome that."

The official said the United States would like to see "all of the neighbors, including Pakistan and India, harmonize their approaches because they do share an interest in peace and stability in Afghanistan."

During Panetta's talks, the United States and India also agreed to resume efforts to recover the remains of some 400 U.S. servicemen still unaccounted for in 90 air crashes in northeastern India during the Second World War, defense officials said.

They also discussed military cooperation, including weapons and training needs.

"We believe that it's very important, again, to help India modernize its capabilities and develop its military capabilities so it can be a net provider of security in the region and internationally," the official said.

The United States is keen to get a bigger slice of India's defense acquisitions, and is negotiating to sell it nearly two dozen Apache helicopters along with other weapons.

(Editing by Jon Hemming)

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Comments (3)
l.conley wrote:
Albert Einstein. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.

With U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Pakistan and Afghanistan are all interchangeable, he comes across like so what there are borders, they are all the same people. It seem like U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, is trying to get basing rights after the facts like in “fast and furious where US tried to get Mexico involved with their crimes after the facts – “US Wants India to Play Greater Role in Afghanistan”

Pakistan condemns U.S. drone strikes http://news.yahoo.com/pakistan-condemns-u-drone-strikes-154652091.html

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta . “Mr Defense Secretary you ought to know what is an act of war” High Treason: Obama and Pentagon Declare Congress Invalid 2012 http://youtu.be/faRjF3-WGVA (49:00) ” Mr Defense Secretary you ought to know what is an act of war” Operation Odyssey Dawn and US Military Operations in Libya http://youtu.be/MTvYbRII4-Q

Oh say can you see the illegal wars Democrat Barack Obama has got us in!! – “The Star-Spangled Banner” – National Anthem of the United States of America (HD) http://youtu.be/spL5JEslGV8

Transcript of the Constitution of the United States – Official Text http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.htm

Obama plans to bomb his way to a second term http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-plans-to-bomb-his-way-to-a-second-term-2012-5#comment-4fc7140469bedde339000009

Jun 05, 2012 9:35pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
l.conley wrote:
Albert Einstein. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.

With U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Pakistan and Afghanistan are all interchangeable, he comes across like so what there are borders, they are all the same people. It seem like U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, is trying to get basing rights after the facts like in “fast and furious where US tried to get Mexico involved with their crimes after the facts – “US Wants India to Play Greater Role in Afghanistan”

Pakistan condemns U.S. drone strikes http://news.yahoo.com/pakistan-condemns-u-drone-strikes-154652091.html

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta . “Mr Defense Secretary you ought to know what is an act of war” High Treason: Obama and Pentagon Declare Congress Invalid 2012 http://youtu.be/faRjF3-WGVA (49:00) ” Mr Defense Secretary you ought to know what is an act of war” Operation Odyssey Dawn and US Military Operations in Libya http://youtu.be/MTvYbRII4-Q

Oh say can you see the illegal wars Democrat Barack Obama has got us in!! – “The Star-Spangled Banner” – National Anthem of the United States of America (HD) http://youtu.be/spL5JEslGV8

Transcript of the Constitution of the United States – Official Text http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.htm

Obama plans to bomb his way to a second term http://www.businessinsider.com/obama-plans-to-bomb-his-way-to-a-second-term-2012-5#comment-4fc7140469bedde339000009

Jun 05, 2012 9:45pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Sri1 wrote:
Pak Army will keep considering India as the enemy number One. This is necessary to maintain military importance as the nation’s sole defender from “Indian hegemony”, a concept that has been vigorously sold to the Pakistani people and younger generations from Pakistan’s inception. The consistent record of the army GHQ over three decades in milking billions of dollars from the west using the Geo-strategic position of Pakistan speaks volumes about how they will act in future. Till this rogue entity is shown the limits of mischief by powers like the USA, there will never be peace in the AfPak region, just “strategic depth” militias that will ravage Pakistan, Afghanistan and India in future.

Jun 05, 2012 12:44am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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