ISLAMABAD: As Indian pageantry welcomed the US president on his second visit to New Delhi, Pakistan expressed hope that President Barrack Obama’s visit would help reduce tension in South Asia.
These sentiments were expressed by Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, when he told journalists on Sunday that the ‘cherished goal of progress and prosperity in the region cannot be achieved without good relations between Pakistan and India.’
Obama, who was given an unprecedented welcome in New Delhi, is the first US president to visit India twice. His engagements during the three day visit are being watched closely in Islamabad, with officials hoping that the American President would raise the issue of unprovoked firing by Indian forces along the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary.
They also expect the US leader to persuade Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resume the stalled peace process with neighboring Pakistan. Islamabad has blamed New Delhi for the ceasefire violations along the LoC and working boundary in a bid to distract its security forces from the ongoing fight against terrorism.
A constant blame game and trust-deficit has prevented the two nuclear neighbors from normalizing bilateral ties despite a promising start last year when Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi.
Aziz told reporters that during his recent visit to Islamabad, US Secretary of State John Kerry was apprised of Pakistan’s reservations on various issues including Indian aggression along the LoC.
During a joint news conference in New Delhi, Indian Prime Minister indirectly referred to Pakistan when he said ‘every country has a responsibility to fight terrorist without any discrimination.’
However, the US President avoided making any direct or indirect reference to Pakistan during the news conference.
This suggests that while the US is keen to improve ties with India, it is equally aware of the importance of Pakistan in the region, commented a government official, who asked to remain anonymous.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2015.