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Central & South Asia
India-Pakistan in Afghan spat
Suspicion between rivals grow as both countries vie for influence in Afghanistan.
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2009 18:11 GMT



In Pakistan there is increasing suspicion that India will use its influence in Afghanistan to further destabilise its troubled border region.
 

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India has dismissed that suggestion, saying it is only involved in reconstruction and humanitarian work in Afghanistan.

John Kerry, US President Barack Obama's key adviser on foreign policy, while acknowledging the fact that the situation along the India-Pakistan border has improved in the recent past, has said that suspicion between the two countries continues to "run deeper".

"The situation along the Indo-Pak border has improved in the last few months. The tensions over Mumbai have been deep. And the suspicions run even deeper," Kerry told the US PBS news channel on Saturday.

Kerry said Pakistan believes that Indian influence in Afghanistan is too great, that it is trying to alienate Pakistan on the international stage.

'Exaggerations'

"Both Pakistan and India ... do what they feel they must in order to protect their national interests and strategic interests in this region"

Robert Wirsing, professor at Georgetown University

Robert Wirsing, a professor at Georgetown University in Doha, told Al Jazeera: "There is no question that Pakistanis are inclined to exaggerate a lot of things and no doubt the allegations made about India are from time to time exaggerated -  it plays into their overall strategy.

"Nevertheless, both Pakistan and India are not above a variety of covert or clandestine activities. They do what they feel they must in order to protect their national interests and strategic interests in this region.

"Afghanistan is certainly an important strategic arena in which they engage in these kinds of activities ... its tit-for-tat," he said.

Al Jazeera's Imran Khan reports from Islamabad.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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