Washington: Stressing that the situation in South Asia was not a zero-sum game, the US has backed the “constructive” partnership between India and Afghanistan despite its ally Pakistan being none too happy about it. “We need good, solid, constructive relations between all the countries of that region, all of them pulling in the same direction so that all countries can reap the economic benefits that good, sound relations will yield,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters Monday.
“That’s certainly been the focus of some of our initiatives, including the New Silk Road,” he said when asked how the US sees the relationship between Kabul and New Delhi since its key ally Pakistan does not like India’s involvement in Afghanistan.
“But also it’s important to emphasise that this is not a zero-sum game. We need all the countries of the region to work productively to harness the economic potential of that region,” Toner said.
Asked about the strategic partnership agreement between Afghanistan and India signed during Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s recent visit to India, he said, “Again, these kinds of economic partnerships and the building of relations between these countries of the region we view as constructive.”
The official said he didn’t “have specifics on any role we might have played, except to say that” the US was “trying to promote a more constructive dialogue between these countries in the region. Again, it’s not a zero-sum game. It’s important that they all pull in the same direction.”
Asked about renewed tensions with Pakistan over its support to Haqqani Network, Toner said: “As we’ve said many times, Pakistan is under enormous threat from extremist groups. We want to find ways to work constructively with them to address these challenges.”