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Obama ends Pak veto over India in Afghanistan

April 02, 2009 12:25 IST

United States President Barack Obama has ended years of 'veto power' wielded by Pakistan in Afghanistan over India's active involvement in the country post-Taliban, a US expert on South Asia has said.

Because of Pakistan's stiff resistance and opposition to involve India in any way in Afghanistan that the Bush administration was literally prevented to take any move to include New Delhi as part of its regional strategy on Afghanistan, Deepa Ollapally, Associate Director of George Washington University's Sigur Center for Asian Studies, said in a Congressional testimony on Afghanistan.

"So far, the US government has refrained from including India in regional political efforts in Afghanistan, basically bending to Pakistan's sentiments. India has obviously not been happy with this state of affairs, but it has pushed ahead with development assistance instead," she said in her testimony before the National Security and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

"The new plan that was announced (by Obama) on Friday, which will include an international contact group which will involve India I think is a step in the right direction," she said.

"The current strategy, which has been to allow Pakistan veto power over India's involvement in formulating regional solutions to the Afghan crisis, is not working and frankly rewards Pakistan for its behaviour so far," she said.

Previously she directed the South Asia Programme at the US Institute of Peace, was an associate professor of political science at Swarthmore College, and headed the International Strategic Studies unit at the National Institute for Advanced Studies in Bangalore.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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