Friday, January 30, 2009

tightening-up on pakistan

Washington Post | Inside a chandeliered ballroom Thursday, Indian diplomats and business leaders and American officials held forth about a new "Cooperation Triangle" for the United States, China and India. But little mention was made at the Asia Foundation's conference on Indo-U.S. relations of the Indian government's recent diplomatic slam-dunk.

India managed to prune the portfolio of the Obama administration's top envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard C. Holbrooke -- basically eliminating the contested region of Kashmir from his job description. The deletion is seen as a significant diplomatic concession to India that reflects increasingly warm ties between the country and the United States, according to South Asia analysts.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have yet to comment on the Kashmir decision. But other South Asia experts say that taking Kashmir out of Holbrooke's hands may upset Pakistan and that there may be back-channel negotiations anyway.