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De-tensioning of Kashmir border critical to stability: Mullen

Last updated on: December 09, 2009 03:16 IST

Welcoming India's decision to reduce troops from Jammu and Kashmir, a top US military official said on Tuesday that de-tensioning of that border was absolutely critical to the long-term stability of the region.

"I really do believe that de-tensioning that (Kashmir) Indo-Pak border is absolutely critical to the long term stability in that region and it is going to take outreach on the part of both countries," Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told foreign correspondents in Washington.

"I am very positively moved by the steps that the Prime Minister Singh's government has taken with respect to this," Mullen said in response to a question on the recent decision taken by New Delhi to reduce troops from Jammu and Kashmir and its implications in the region.

"I think that the adjustments that the Indians have proposed, and to the degree that has been executed -- I am just not current on the level of execution right now -- but certainly executing those changes is a very positive step," Mullen said.

"I think, the leadership -- the political leadership, the diplomatic leadership and military leadership in both countries and in the region need to continue to encourage and also to respond," Mullen said.

The top US military official, who has made several trips to Pakistan in the last one year and has been in constant contact with the top Pak military leadership in a day-to-day basis, said resolution of Kashmir dispute is very critical for the stability in the region.

"In the long-run, resolution of the border in the east in Kashmir is a very important outcome. Obviously, that is a principal concern to India and Pakistan. But there is a concern to many others in terms of stability of the region. I think that is a key part of what needs to happen in the future," Mullen said.

The admiral said the US will coordinate its counterinsurgency efforts on the Afghan side vis-à-vis addressing Islamabad's concerns over possible influx of militants into tribal areas.

Image: Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen

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