‘Pakistan, India must heal divide’
* Barack Obama says India has right to self-defence
* Says Zardari understands terrorism also a threat to Pakistan
Daily Times, December 8 2008
WASHINGTON: US president-elect Barack Obama called for a grand new approach to fighting terror in South Asia, pressing India and Pakistan to heal their divide over Kashmir following the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
“If a country is attacked, it has the right to defend itself,” Obama said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, while evading a question of whether India has the right to go in hot pursuit of terrorists over the Pakistan border. Obama said the new civilian government of President Asif Ali Zardari “has sent the right signals”.
“He has indicated that he recognises this (terrorism) is not just a threat to the United States but it is a threat to Pakistan as well,” he said, citing a deadly bombing on Friday in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, near Afghanistan.
Obama called for an “effective strategic partnership with Pakistan that allows us in concert to assure that terrorists are not setting up safe havens in some of these border regions between Pakistan and Afghanistan.”
But the United States needed also to build a strategic partnership across all of South Asia, Obama said ahead of his inauguration on January 20, as he vowed to take the fight ‘fiercely’ to Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Military means alone would not suffice in Afghanistan, he said, promising of a better life for dirt-poor Afghans.
“We can’t continue to look at Afghanistan in isolation. We have to see it as part of a regional problem that includes Pakistan, includes India, includes Kashmir, includes Iran,” he said. agencies
Obama vows new deal for Afghanistan - AFP
US raises pressures on Pakistan to act after Mumbai attacks - AFP