WASHINGTON - The top U.S. military officer India has called for a regional approach to deal with the Afghan war involving not only Afghanistan, Pakistan but also India and Iran. In "Afghanistan, a regional approach is critical. And it includes not just Afghanistan, but Afghanistan and Pakistan," Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Tuesday at a media briefing on US National Security Strategy. "I also believe that India plays an important role here. And certainly Iran, as a bordering state, plays a role as well," he added. "And to the degree that we are able to dialogue with them, find some mutual interests, there is potential there for moving ahead together. But I really leave that to the diplomats to lead with that dialogue. I have said for many, many, months I think it was " it's been " it is important to engage Iran. Iran is unhelpful in many, many ways in many, many areas. And so I wouldn't be overly optimistic at this point. But there are mutual interests and I think that that might offer some possibilities" Asked if Pakistan is concerned about India's expanding role in Afghanistan, Mullen said: "When I talk about a regional approach, I include Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran as well as India. And I think the regional countries in there have a very significant stake in stability and in outcomes which are positive, in that region, as opposed to those that might go in the other direction. "So I think the strategic leadership and views, opinions and support provided, by India, will be very clear," Mullen said noting, "India has taken significantly positive steps to invest in Afghanistan, has for some period of time." "And yet there's certainly a historic tension that's there, between Pakistan and India, obviously accentuated greatly as a result of the Mumbai attacks," Mullen said. But he was satisfied that the strategic leadership, in both Pakistan and India, has been such that any kind of conflict did not break after Mumbai attacks. In reply to a question about military-to-military relationship with Pakistan, Mullen said he had "a very strong relationship" with Pakistan army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, as also Admiral Sureesh Mehta, chairman of India's Chiefs of Staff Committee. "So my relations are not just limited to Pakistan," he said adding, Kayani has "got some huge challenges, as does Admiral Mehta in India. I mean, we all have huge challenges."