Sunday, November 7, 2010

President Obama urges India-Pakistan dialogue

MUMBAI, India — President Barack Obama encouraged a progressive dialogue between India and Pakistan on Sunday and told college students at a town hall here that their country has a vested interest in the success of its neighbor despite a long history of mistrust between the two nations.

“I’m absolutely convinced that the country that has the biggest stake in Pakistan’s success is India,” Obama said in response to a question during the event at St. Xavier's College in Mumbai. “I think if Pakistan is unstable, that’s bad for India. If Pakistan is stable and prosperous, that is good.
“Because it is unmovable,” he stressed.

Obama, who is expected to expand on his views of India-Pakistan relations in a speech to India’s Parliament on Monday, said relations with Pakistan are particularly crucial at a time when India is emerging as an economic power.

“So my hope is that over time trust develops between the two countries, that dialogue begins perhaps on less controversial issues building up to more controversial issues and that over time there’s a recognition that India and Pakistan can live side by side in peace,” he said as he walked around a stage set in an outdoor courtyard.

The president also faced a question about the changes in his political fortunes back in Washington after the midterm elections and told the students he will have to “make some midcourse corrections.”

“My obligation is to make sure that I stick to the principles and beliefs and ideas that will move America forward,” Obama said, citing investments in education, infrastructure and clean energy. “But it also requires me to make some midcourse corrections and adjustments.”

The president did not elaborate on what those adjustments might be. But he said “how those play out” over the next few months will depend on his meetings with Republicans, who won control of the House and gained seats in the Senate in last Tuesday’s elections.


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