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Pak's concerns about India won't go away: Mullen

By The Rediff News Bureau
November 06, 2009 13:33 IST
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In the course of a briefing at the National Press Club, Washington, DC, on Thursday, the chairman of the United States joint chiefs of staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, acknowledged Pakistan's concerns about India, and noted that such concerns 'cannot be wished away'.

The Dawn, Pakistan, reports that Admiral Mullen's remarks were a reflection of the realisation in the American capital that the US's efforts to persuade Pakistan against the Indian threat, be it perceived or real, will not work.

Pakistan is 'still very concerned' about India, Admiral Mullen said at his briefing. 'That's not going to go away overnight and we are not going to wish that away' either.

Among other things, Admiral Mullen also criticised the government in Afghanistan. 'You have to have governance, not just in Kabul , we also have to have it in provinces, in districts and the sub-districts,' he was reported as saying. 'The legitimacy really needs to be in the eyes of the Afghan people. That is, at best, in question and, at worst, doesn't exist.'

Corruption was another issue dogging Afghanistan, he pointed out: 'We are extremely concerned about the level of corruption and the legitimacy of this government.'

On Pakistan's war against extremism, Admiral Mullen said, 'I think it's going to continue to be a very tough fight, and if you just look at the bombings that have occurred in the last couple of weeks -- and more and more Pakistani citizens who are getting killed -- I think they are responding in recognition of the seriousness of this extremist group.'

About America's commitment to the region, Admiral Mullen, who has made several trips there, said, 'We've been there before and I think we've got obligations and responsibilities based on that before.'

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The Rediff News Bureau in Mumbai