PRESIDENT Obama's National Security Advisor Gen James Jones has been conveyed Islamabad's major concerns while it fights its war against the extremist militants in the tribal areas. As Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has put it, the normalisation of relations with India is necessary for the stability of the region. Whatever attempts were afoot through a composite dialogue to resolve the disputes between the two countries were brought to a halt by New Delhi after the Mumbai attacks. Pakistan and India have since been in a state of cold war with the bulk of their armies stationed on the LoC and the international border. Despite a meeting between President Asif Zardari and Dr Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the SCO, official talks between the two sides are yet to be resumed. There is a need to realise that what stands in the way of normalisation are crucial issues that cannot be papered over. As long as they are not addressed, there is little hope of Pakistan devoting all energies to its fights against the militants. Prime Minister Gilani has mentioned the two most pressing problems, to wit, Kashmir and water disputes. Unless real progress is made on these disputes, mistrust and suspicions would continue to embitter the relations between India and Pakistan. Any act of terrorism in India, or a chance exchange of fire in a sector along the LoC, could force the two armies into an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation. Under the present circumstances, it is difficult for Pakistan to remove its crack troops and major assets from its Eastern border with India. President Obama is committed to winning the war in Afghanistan. He has taken major policy decisions in this regard. The appointment of Mr Dennis Ross as special assistant to the President responsible for Afghanistan, Pakistan, South Asia and Middle East and Gulf, also indicates the importance he gives to the issue. A number of emissaries from Washington are visiting the region to meet the Pakistani and Indian leadership, the latest being General Jones, who has held talks with his Indian counterpart M.K. Narayanan and has called on Dr Manmohan Singh. Secretary Clinton is scheduled to visit New Delhi next month. It is time the US uses its clout with India to convince it to resolve the outstanding differences with Pakistan, including the core issue of Kashmir. Talks have to start in good earnest and progress seen to made on the disputes. Many in Pakistan felt betrayed when the issue of Kashmir remained unresolved despite Pakistan becoming a front line state in President Bush's War on Terror. They don't want this to be repeated.