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NSA cautions US against ‘barking up the wrong tree’ on Kashmir


New Delhi : Rejecting any attempt to link the Kashmir issue with violence in Pakistan’s tribal areas, National Security Adviser (NSA) M.K. Narayanan has said US President Barack Obama would be “barking up the wrong tree” if he subscribes to such views.

“References made by President Obama did seem to suggest that there is some kind of a link between the settlement on Pakistan’s western border and the Kashmir issue. Certainly that had caused concern,” Narayanan told Karan Thapar’s “India to night” programme.

Narayanan, however, added that India had made it known to the Obama team at the outset that it would not like India-Pakistan relations to be on the agenda of Richard Holbrooke, special representative of the US for Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The reference to India or Kashmir was finally excluded from the brief of Holbrooke after India’s vehement opposition to such a suggestion.

Narayanan said that such references were made by Obama when he was campaigning or when he was president-elect.

“We tend to sort of say let’s wait and see what he does when he come into office,” Narayanan said. “I don’t think we had any major exchanges with members of the Obama administration later on.”

“I do think that we could make President Obama understand; if he does have any such views then he is barking up the wrong tree,” he said.

Narayanan’s repudiation of any link between Kashmir and terrorism comes before Holbrooke’s first visit to the region, likely in the next six-seven days.

Besides Pakistan and Afghanistan, Holbrooke will also be coming to India to explore how India and the US can work together to bring stability to the South Asian region.

The United States has made it clear that Holbrooke has no mandate to deal with Kashmir and his sole job is to help bring stability to Afghanistan.