Maintaining that the US has “no role” in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan despite Islamabad seeking third party intervention by Washington, a top American South Asia expert has said that the two countries should resolve the issue through dialogue.
Alyssa Ayres, a senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations, said that the US would like New Delhi and Islamabad to resolve the issue through dialogue.
Pakistani leaders have repeatedly sought the US intervention in resolving the Kashmir dispute, but India had said that there was no room for third party mediation.
Delivering the 4th New India Lecture on “India’s Role on World Stage”, organised by the Consulate General of India here in partnership with the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), she said “There is no role for the US (in settling India-Pakistan disputes).”
“This is not like a shuttle diplomacy in the Middle-East where countries that have problems with each other seek the US involvement to try and reach a resolution,” Ayres said, while speaking on a range of issues impacting India-US ties in a session moderated by former US Ambassador to India Frank Wisner.
She said that it has been clear over the years that while Pakistan would like the US support and mediation, New Delhi very actively doesn’t want that.
“So you cannot play a role, if both parties to the dispute are not seeking that role,” she added.
Ayres said that India and Pakistan should be talking more but it is hard to do that when one country feels that the other is not acting in good faith.
“Of course that’s difficult. This is one of the most challenging relationships that I can see on the global stage,” she said.
Ayres stressed that the US has been very forceful in urging “Pakistan to end the problem of terrorism.”
“We should also not forget that the problem of terrorism in Pakistan is affecting the ability to create a secure environment in Afghanistan where the US has deployed troops, where India is doing economic development and the international community is trying to help Afghanistan become stable enough to support a stable government and develop the economy,” she said.
On the future of India-US relations, Ayres said India was “vitally important” for the US but the two nations are going to face some challenges.
For managing India-US relations going forward, the US needs to “get away from this idea of thinking that India and US are on a trajectory to become allies”.
“I think it is a mould that is very easy for us in the US to slip into thinking about positive partnerships with countries as necessarily on a trajectory to an alliance,” she said.
Ayres suggested that the two nations should really think about their relationship “much more like a joint venture in business where we have some declared areas of deep partnership and convergence and also some areas where we know are going to be problems”, such as Russia and Iran.
She termed the security and defense aspects as one of the most important areas of the US-India partnership going ahead.
Ayres, however, added that the two will continue to be more challenged on the economic front “where we have got a lot of frictions, some big, some small but none of them easy. We have to continue to manage those frictions”.