THE fact that Indian leadership was rattled by President Obama's initial comment that the US should help resolve the Kashmir dispute has apparently resulted in his Administration dragging its feet on the issue that remains the core issue in the relations between the two South Asian neighbours. Bruce Riedel, who co-chaired the inter-agency committee which formulated the Af-Pak Policy, was quoted by a news agency as saying on Sunday: "I don't think that the Obama Administration intends to meddle in Kashmir." Mr Riedel meanwhile insisted that it was in the interest of the US to see tensions between India and Pakistan diminished and see a resumption of the composite dialogue that had produced some significant results between 2006 and May 2008. One wonders how he expects this to happen when India is neither positively responding to the CBMs Pakistan has been offering it unilaterally, nor accepting any timeframe for the resolution of the core dispute of Kashmir. There is no point in telling Islamabad to take the "first step" to bring to justice the Mumbai attack masterminds when New Delhi is reluctant to furnish it the required information. It has now become clear that the Congress leadership had blown this issue out of proportions just to improve its electoral ratings. But, unfortunately, there has not been any change in its approach which became clear from Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna's intense finger-pointing at Pakistan following the release of Hafiz Saeed. Why did Mr Riedel feel the need to allay apprehensions in 'some quarters' in India that US Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke's mandate might also include Kashmir? It was a clear signal that Washington would not do anything that might irk New Delhi. But then the Obama Administration cannot escape the blame for being partisan when it continues to ignore the worst repression unleashed by India in the Held State.