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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2620

Pakistan on US-India talks agenda

By Wajid Ali Syed – Washington Correspondent for Asian Tribune

Washington, 11 June, (Asiantribune.com): The US Undersecretary for political affairs has reached Delhi on a four-day trip for rounds of talks with top Indian government officials. The visit of William Burns marks the first formal talks between the Obama administration and the new Cabinet of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It came ahead of an expected official visit next month by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meant to deepen the relationship between the world's oldest democracy and the world's largest one.

The US Undersecretary said his trip to India comes at a time of "extraordinary promise" for the relationship between Washington and New Delhi. Burns said President Barack Obama and Secretary Clinton sent him here with the message India is a top foreign policy priority for the United States and a crucial global partner for the 21st century.

US government officials say the discussions are touching upon a number of topics, including the deepening of defense, economic and academic ties. The two countries, since last November's attack on Mumbai, have been increasing cooperation on fighting terrorism.

Also on the agenda is the stalled peace talks between India and Pakistan. The United States is urging the two nuclear-armed neighbors to return to the table and attempt to settle their long-standing territorial dispute over the Kashmir region.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in a policy speech Tuesday, said his government was willing to meet Pakistan "more than half way." But New Delhi wants to see Islamabad bring to justice those responsible for planning the Mumbai attack.

The relationship between the United States and India has gradually warmed in recent years. A major breakthrough was a civil nuclear deal achieved during Prime Minister Singh's first administration and the second term of President George W. Bush.

- Asian Tribune -

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