Obama Secretly Steps Up India-Pakistan Diplomacy

White House sees reducing tension as crucial to Afghanistan
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2010 5:32 AM CDT
Obama Secretly Steps Up India-Pakistan Diplomacy
President Barack Obama puts his hand on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India's back after a press conference in the East Room of the White House, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009 in Washington.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Obama instructed diplomats to focus their efforts on improving relations between India and Pakistan in a secret directive last December, in order to secure Pakistani cooperation in the war in Afghanistan, the Wall Street Journal reports. The US has showered Pakistan with aid and high-profile face time over the last few months in the hopes that Islamabad can be convinced of the need to eradicate the militants who take refuge in the western tribal regions.

Pakistan regards Afghanistan as a "buffer zone" in case of a conflict with India, and the US believes it will be unwilling to attack Afghan militants if the sense of an Indian threat is not reduced. But in such a volatile situation, diplomats must take care lest their efforts have unintended consequences. "This is an administration that's deeply divided about the wisdom of leaning on India to solve US problems with Pakistan," an analyst tells the Journal.
(Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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