Friday, March 19, 2010

US will ‘do more and announce more’ for Pakistan: Holbrooke

US special representative Richard Holbrooke has indicated that the Obama administration would “do more and announce more” to assist Pakistan’s development in various fields.

Briefing the US State Department, Holbrooke said, “We are doing more, we will announce more, we want to do as much as the Congress will support, but Congress writes the cheques.”

The envoy praised Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Kayani for deciding to participate in the upcoming round of strategic dialogue in the US. He said strategic dialogue was not possible without the participation of the army. He also praised the Pakistan Army for its successes against terrorists in Tribal Areas.

Holbrooke described the agenda for the strategic dialogue as the fight against al Qaeda and improved bilateral relations between Pakistan and the US.

He said the US would also discuss with the Pakistani delegation issues related to the distribution of water and power. “Beyond the strategic broad-range discussions, we want to move into operational things like water, energy,” he said.

The US envoy also praised the government for arresting Mullah Baradar.

Holbrooke said the dialogue in the US on March 24 – to be led by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi – “marks a major intensification in our relationship”.

He said US officials would visit Islamabad on the Pakistani government’s invitation for the next round of the strategic dialogue. He said the round of dialogue to be held in Pakistan would be meaningful and not a mere photo session.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

No surgical strike on terror camps in Pakistan: Indian Govt

India today ruled out the possibility of any surgical strike on terror camps inside Pakistan, but asserted that adequate measures would be taken to ensure its interests are protected.

"No, no," Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju, said when asked about the possibility of surgical strikes on terror camps inside the neighbouring country.

He told reporters here, "We will take adequate measures to see to it that our nation is safe, our citizens are safe, and our interests are safeguarded."

While expressing hope that Pakistan will act against terror camps operating from its soil, he said India will also ensure that its interests are protected and the nation is secure.

"The first responsibility is towards ensuring adequate security towards which we are leaving no stone unturned.