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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardar in Yekaterinburg, Russia
 
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'US must support the demand for Pakistan to shut down Lashkar'
You have also argued that these are strategic assets that they want to maintain as some sort of insurance policy because there is always that nagging deja vu for all of Washington's assurances, that the US, as it has done twice before, will cut and run. So, is it inevitable that this strategy would always be sustained by Pakistan and the ISI and military establishment will never forsake these assets?

I don't believe it is inevitable. I think that we can influence the calculations in Rawalpindi about the future. We can do that in several ways. By making clear that we are going to build in Afghanistan, an Afghan national security establishment that's going to be able to protect its own country -- an Afghan army that's big enough and well-trained and equipped and that the Taliban will be a liability for Pakistan in the long term.

And, I think, between India and Pakistan, we have to encourage a process of cooling tensions -- getting back to the composite dialogue and have the back-channel that undermine the logic of groups like Lashkar-e-Tayiba and undermine the position of those in the Pakistani establishment who believe that's the right approach.

The fact that Prime Minister (Manmohan) Singh agreed to meet with (Pakistan President Asif Ali) Zardari in Russia, shows that the New Delhi government recognises the wisdom of doing that. The prime minister has to be given a strong vote of support for doing this.

It would have been very easy to take the position that Zardari has to do something first, but the prime minister wisely chose the posture of reaching out. This does not mean that Pakistan should be taken off the hook by any means, and in particular, it should be an imperative of American policy to support the demand for Pakistan to shut down Lashkar-e-Tayiba once and for all.

Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardar in Yekaterinburg, Russia
Photograph: Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters
Also read: President Obama's challenges in AfPak
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