Ties with India, Pakistan not a zero sum game: Pentagon

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Observing that its relationship with India and Pakistan is not a zero-sum game and that it values ties with both, the Pentagon on Friday said safe havens that existed in Pakistan were still an obstacle to ultimate success in Afghanistan.
“I would tell you that with respect to both countries, it’s not a zero-sum game for us,” the Pentagon spokesman, Navy Captain John Kirby, told a bloggers’ round table on Thursday, in response to a question.
“We value and very much want deep strategic partnerships with both countries, because both of them are vital to the Central and South Asia regions. There’s no question about that,” he said.
Kirby said Pentagon had long said and believed that its success in Afghanistan was very much dependent on a strong constructive relationship with Pakistan.
“That relationship is troubled. There’s no question about that right now. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t, both sides, recognise the importance of working our way through this and getting to better cooperation and coordination across that border,” Kirby said.
“The safe havens that exist in Pakistan are still an obstacle to our ultimate success in Afghanistan, and we’re continuing to work at that,” he said.
India also has a very, very strong role to play, he added. “This is a country which is a growing economic power not just in the region but globally. It’s a nation with whom we’ve had a very strong military partnership going back decades.
“And they as well, the Indians, desire to play, and have been playing, a constructive role inside Afghanistan, conducting some training for Afghan troops and also showing a willingness to help out economically in Afghanistan,” Kirby said. “So we don’t look at this, in any nation in that part of the world – and this includes Afghanistan – we don’t look at this as one up, one down or one against the other. “We want good, strong relationships with all the nations there. And more importantly, we want them to have strong relationships with each other,” Kirby said.