Krishna, Clinton to discuss Af-Pak issues

Krishna, Clinton to discuss Af-Pak issues

Though New Delhi and Washington acknowledged divergences in their views on the nature of international responses to crises in Libya and Syria, both would be keen to limit their talks to bilateral and regional issues. Attempts would also be made to narrow down their differences on international affairs.

Krishna and Clinton both are in New York to attend the 66th session of the United Natio­ns General Assembly (UNGA). Though a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and American President Barack Obama did not take place on the sidelines of the UNGA, the officials of the two countries over the past few days tried to set up one between the external affairs minister and his US counterpart.

They are expected to take serious note of  assassination of former Afghanistan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was heading the High Peace Council appointed by Afghan Government for reconciliation with the Taliban.

The external affairs minister and the US Secretary of State will discuss the Af-Pak situation on the backdrop of Washington publicly blaming Islama­b­ad of supporting terrorist groups Quetta Shura and Ha­qqani Network along the country’s border with Afg­ha­nistan.

In a statement to the American Senate’s Armed Services Committee last Thursday, Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the Haqqani Network had not only enjoyed the support and protection of Islamabad, but also had been “in many ways, a strategic arm of the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence”. “We have always been saying it. I am glad that the US finds that it has also suffered under the ISI. I think our stand has been vindicated,” Krishna said in New York.

Top officials of the US State Department earlier this week discussed the Af-Pak situation with Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai in a meeting in Washington.

The American Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake, and US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Mark Grossman, attended the meeting