'US in common struggle with India, Pakistan against terrorism'

"We have a very rich, strategic dialogue with India," State Department Spokesman Mark Toner told reporters on Wednesday when asked about what the visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao discussed with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her counterpart Undersecretary of State Bill Burns on Tuesday.

The official, however, could not say what specific issues were discussed between Rao, Clinton and Burns. When reminded that before coming to the State Department, Rao had delivered a blunt warning to Pakistan to stop terrorism targeted against India, Toner again didn't have a specific readout.

"I can certainly imagine that they did talk about dialogue between Pakistan and India, and better cooperation," he said. "And of course we're encouraging cooperation on all levels. And we're engaged in strategic dialogues to that end."

Asked why Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robert Blake was visiting Pakistan and Afghanistan along with India when Af-Pak region was the domain of US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, the official said they had different roles.

Being the special envoy Holbrooke had visited the region eight, nine times as "that's proper and right that he would do so," Toner said. "But that said, Assistant Secretary Blake is obviously engaged in that issue as well."

"Blake, I think, is just also trying to get a sense of what's going on on the ground so he can be better informed in his role."

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