Rohit Kumar's Views

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Obama stands by US support for Pakistan

leave a comment »

RAHUL BEDI

US PRESIDENT Barack Obama has defended Washington’s support for Pakistan and said India was the country with the biggest stake in Islamabad’s stability.


President Obama meets schoolchildren as he visit Humayuns Tomb in New Delhi yesterday.

“My hope is that, over time, trust develops between the two countries, that dialogue begins, perhaps on less controversial issues, building up to more controversial issues,” he told college students in India’s western port city of Bombay (Mumbai) yesterday, on the second day of his three-day visit to India.

Mr Obama, who faces a diplomatic tightrope in fostering ties with India as its economic and geopolitical importance grows while at the same time helping Pakistan with billions of dollars in aid and weaponry, told the students the US could not impose peace on the neighbouring nuclear rivals.

“There are more Pakistanis who’ve been killed by terrorists inside Pakistan than probably anywhere else,” Mr Obama stated, in the city besieged for nearly three days by 10 gunmen from Pakistan almost exactly two years ago.

Many Bombay residents and siege survivors were disappointed with Mr Obama’s remarks, which they considered over conciliatory towards Pakistan.

Mr Obama added that the US had reaffirmed its partnership with Pakistan along with its willingness to help Islamabad stamp out terrorism, but progress had not been as quick as many wanted.

Many Indian officials privately admitted to being frustrated with Mr Obama for not being forthright in condemning Pakistan and its military and intelligence establishment for “sponsoring” terrorism.

The president reiterated his intention to bring US troops home from Afghanistan, beginning in July 2011, depending on ground conditions. He said he supported efforts by the Afghan government to reconcile with current and former Taliban members who agreed to sever ties with al-Qaeda, renounce violence and support their country’s constitution.

Addressing his domestic situation, Mr Obama declared he needed to initiate “mid-course corrections” if he was to win over a frustrated electorate and work with newly empowered Republicans.

However, he said he would not change his determination to move the US forward by investing in education, infrastructure and clean energy, despite mounting pressure in Washington to cut spending.

Mr Obama said the US mid-term elections reflected the “right, obligation and duty” of voters to express their unhappiness with his administration by voting out many incumbents, the majority of whom were Democrats, like Obama.

He said the outcome of his “mid-course corrections” over the coming months would depend on talks with Republicans, who last week won control of the House and eroded the Democrats’ Senate majority.

The Republicans also made major gains at state level, changing the political landscape as Obama looks ahead to his own re-election in 2012.

While her husband’s comments on Pakistan annoyed Indian officials and analysts, Michelle Obama won kudos from the Indian media and Mumbai residents by kicking off her shoes and played a boisterous game of hopscotch with under-privileged children on Saturday and later dancing with gusto with them to a ritzy Bollywood tune. Mr Obama joined in the dance, sportingly jumping around and making awkward movements with his arms.

Later in the day the Obamas arrived in Delhi, where they were received by Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh, who broke with protocol to personally greet the US president.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: