WASHINGTON - Reducing India-Pakistan tensions is the centerpiece of the Obama administration's foreign policy amid an expanding war in neighbouring Afghanistan, nothing more at this stage, a dispatch in The Washington Post said Wednesday, the eve of official-level talks between the South Asian neighbours in New Delhi. Citing US officials, the newspaper said the Obama administration, which has gently but firmly pushed the two toward talks, is less interested in the substance of their discussion than the fact that it is happening at all. "For us, the bar is pretty low," one official said. "We're looking just to get a dialogue restarted." The administration believes that each nation's fixation on the other distracts from key U.S. foreign policy interests, correspondent Emily Wax wrote. "The United States wants Pakistan to concentrate less on its problems with its giant neighbour to the east and more on eliminating the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other insurgent groups that are based in Pakistan's mountainous border region with Afghanistan". The dispatch said Washington has spent nearly $12 billion in the past eight years to bolster Pakistan's military, largely to support efforts to combat militancy. "Inside Afghanistan, competition for influence between India and Pakistan is seen as undermining the U.S. war effort. More broadly, India is seen as a strategic bulwark against China's growing regional and international power," the Post said. "To persuade India and Pakistan to talk to each other, the administration has sharply increased its military and economic ties to both, and tried to take their mutual concerns seriously while convincing them that dialogue is in their own interest. "Pakistan is eager for talks, and President Obama promised in December that he would help reduce tensions with India in exchange for Pakistan's increased cooperation against insurgents. India, the more reluctant participant, has been wooed and flattered by a series of senior U.S. officials, along with a pledge to help keep Pakistan in line". US officials strongly urged India to invite Pakistan to the table in New Delhi to clear the air on key issues, including the disputed region of Kashmir and the role of Pakistanis in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, according to the dispatch. Interviews in India and Pakistan suggest there is little reason to hope for major breakthroughs, it said. India wants the talks to focus on terrorism, but Pakistan is calling for wide-ranging negotiations that will focus on long-standing issues, including the Kashmir and tensions over their shared water sources.