One of my apprehensions expressed in a blog dated as back as 21st August 2012 was that United States would not pull out all its troops from Afghanistan in 2014. It will create reasons for the stay of its troops. This apprehension has come true as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal said in plain words “The United States will not go away from the Pak-Afghan region after 2014”. “Our engagement with the Pak-Afghan region is an enduring one. We are not going away. We are not going anywhere,” she said.
Earlier I had expressed my apprehension in another blog dated 31st July 2012 that United States was trying to project India as regional super power and facilitating creation of its hegemony in South East Asia and even beyond to oil rich Middle East and North Africa. She confirmed this by saying that India had and would continue to play a role in Afghanistan and rejected the suggestion that Pakistan and India needed to compete with each other for influence in Afghanistan. Ms Biswal stressed the US-India relations were so “deep and wide-ranging” that they were not linked to any particular issue. “It is a global relationship,” she added.
At her first interaction with the South Asian media after taking charge of her office, Ms Biswal covered a wide-range of issues, from elections in Bangladesh and India to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. With reference to Pakistan-India relationship she said, “The United States supports any improvements in the (Pakistani-Indian) overall relationship and we have seen important overtures by both countries towards dialogue.”
But Ms Biswal made it clear that the United States would only play a supportive role in encouraging India and Pakistan to resolve their disputes and would avoid a direct involvement. “No change in the long-held US policy that Kashmir and other issues need to be resolved in bilateral talks between India and Pakistan. It is for India and Pakistan to set the pace, scope and the nature of this process.”