‘Dominant power’ India, major factor in region: Holbrooke

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : The US is keeping New Delhi informed about its policies in Afghanistan-Pakistan region as it looks at India as a “dominant power” in South Asia, a major factor in the region.

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“The Indians are a major factor in the region. They are a dominant power,” US special representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke said at a panel discussion on Af-Pak region organised by a Washington think tank Thursday.

“Improving US-India relations has been a continual goal of the last three administrations, all of whom have been successful in that regard, I think starting with President (Bill) Clinton’s term,” he said.

India was outside his portfolio, Holbrooke said, but “I am in constant touch with the embassy. I meet with the Indians continually, the New Delhi’s ambassador in Washington (Meera Shankar) and I have had dinner recently. She and I are in close touch.”

However, he has no plan to visit India on his second trip to the Af-Pak region this month over the weekend. “I will go to India whenever the schedule permits,” Holbrooke said.

Leaving Saturday, he will visit Pakistan first and then Afghanistan. From there he will fly to Istanbul for a friend of democratic Pakistan meeting, and then return to Afghanistan to be on the scene during elections.