FOR the second time in recent days, American sources have come out with a clear endorsement of Pakistans apprehensions about Indias growing role in Afghanistan. First, it was General Stanley McChrystal, the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, who warned Washington that its increased presence was exacerbating regional tensions, a position long held by Pakistan but to which the US had been turning a blind eye. Rather it had been making little of it. The General has revealed that the US had been pressing New Delhi to scale back its operations and close down consulates in locations where it did not have significant economic interests. His concern is obviously prompted by the realisation that since Pakistans full cooperation is essential to defeating the insurgency, Indian designs would distract its attention and jeopardise the main cause. Now, a former CIA man at Islamabad, Milton Bearden, has acknowledged that Pakistans feelings were not overwrought, as previously assumed by the US administration, but quite justified. Indeed, it is not difficult for any strategist to conclude from New Delhis tactics in Afghanistan that Islamabad would be extremely worried at the kind of encirclement it is experiencing. The two countries have standing disputes between them. They have gone to war three times in a span of 60 years, as Bearden recalls, and have an uninterrupted history of tension. At the root of the trouble is the forcible occupation of Kashmir and added to that is the brutal suppression of its people, who have strong ties with Pakistan and were promised by India a free and fair vote under UN auspices to decide about accession of the state. That has kept the cauldron of hatred between the two nations boiling. In the backdrop of the above scenario, good intentions could not possibly be behind the establishment of Indian diplomatic missions on the periphery of Pakistan. In fact, Pakistans security forces operating in the troubled north are convinced that the sophisticated arms and equipment the militants possess are made available to them by a hostile power. There is credible evidence of Indian involvement in Balochistan as well. Although it was the US policy of patronising the Northern Alliance that provided New Delhi a welcome niche to operate against Pakistan, Washington must take these warnings from its own sources seriously. Not only should its friend reduce its presence in Afghanistan, but also resolve disputes with Pakistan amicably for real peace to come to the subcontinent.