OBAMA GOVT REACHES OUT TO JOIN AFGHAN DOTS, BUILD TIES

Hindustan Times (Patna) - - FRONT PAGE - Jayanth Ja­cob

NEW DELHI: In a first ma­jor con­tact with In­dia af­ter the re-elec­tion of pres­i­dent Barack Obama, US un­der sec­re­tary of po­lit­i­cal af­fairs Wendy Sherman up­dated New Delhi about the com­plex endgame in Afghanistan and ex­pressed the in­tent to build counter-ter­ror­ism and se­cu­rity ties be­tween the two coun­tries.

The top US diplo­mat held dis­cus­sions with ex­ter­nal af­fairs min­is­ter Sal­man Khur­shid and for­eign sec­re­tary Ran­jan Mathai and other of­fi­cials on her visit dic­tated with by Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion's com­pul­sions in Afghanistan, sources said. The cru­cial cen­tral Asian neigh­bours of Afghanistan, Kaza­khstan, and Kyr­gyzs­tan also fig­ure in Sherman's three-na­tion trip.

While the US is set to re­tain some of its mil­i­tary pres­ence in Afghanistan, the peace process with Tal­iban is not giv­ing the de­sired re­sults.

New Delhi also prefers the pres­ence of West for a bet­ter se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion as what­ever hap­pens in Afghanistan has a di­rect se­cu­rity im­pli­ca­tion for In­dia. It is wor­ried about any strate­gic depth Pak­istan would eye dis­pro­por­tion­ate to its sta­tus as a neigh­bour­ing coun­try. Washington has also been urg­ing In­dia to play a greater role in Afghanistan, in­clud­ing se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion.

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