NEW DELHI - India on Monday gave a cautious blessing to attempts to make peace with Afghanistan’s Taliban as US Secretary of State John Kerry promised to pay heed to the concerns of the regional power.
Kerry, on his first visit to India as the top US diplomat, threw his support behind a greater global role for Delhi which he said shared a “similar vision” of supporting a peaceful and stable world.
John Kerry further said that conditions for talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan had not been met yet.
Amid criticism that a relationship once heralded as historic has failed to live up to its potential, Kerry announced that US Vice President Joe Biden would visit India next month to look at further ways to enhance cooperation. Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid applauded Kerry for being forthright about New Delhi’s worries as the United States, which is pulling out its nearly 70,000 troops from Afghanistan next year, mulls talks with the Taliban. “They will ensure that none of the concerns of India are overlooked or undermined,” Khurshid told a joint news conference with Kerry. He did not object to the Taliban talks, saying: “I think it’s an experiment that is being done in order to find an alternative for sustainable peace in Afghanistan. One cannot disagree with that.” “It’s very clear what the objective is. How far that objective is possible, only time will tell,” Khurshid said.
September 11, 2001 attacks.
The United States and India had uneasy relations during the Cold War but began to reconcile in the late 1990s. The new mood was symbolised in 2008 when the countries signed a nuclear cooperation agreement, ending India’s decades of isolation over its nuclear programme.
Kerry met for dinner with business leaders in hopes of easing the rift and said that India and US nuclear leader Westinghouse have set a deadline of September to come to a commercial agreement.
In turn, Indian Internet companies have voiced alarm at efforts in the US Congress to curb the number of visas for high-skilled foreigners. Khurshid called for the United States and India to “factor in concerns from both sides” and “find something that is a win-win” on the visa row.
Indian companies say that visa curbs would pose severe hurdles in an increasingly interconnected world economy, but some US lawmakers are pushing the firms to hire more Americans.