WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama secretly offered Pakistan in 2009 that he would nudge India towards negotiations on Kashmir in lieu of it ending support to terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Taliban, but much to his disappointment Islamabad rejected the offer.
“Since the 1950s Pakistan had wanted an American role in South Asia. Now it was being offered one. In the end Pakistan would have to negotiate the Kashmir issue directly with India. But at least now the American president was saying that he would nudge the Indians toward those negotiations,” Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani writes in his book ‘Magnificent Delusions,’ which hit the stores on Tuesday,.
This is Haqqani’s interpretation of the secret letter written by President Obama to the then President Asif Ali Zardari, which was personally hand delivered by his then National Security Adviser Gen (rtd) James Jones. The letter’s content is for the first time being disclosed by Haqqani, the then Pakistan’s envoy to the US.
In his 300-page book, Haqqani writes that in November 2009, Jones had travelled to Islamabad to hand deliver a letter written by Obama to Zardari.
Dated November 11, 2009, through the letter Obama offered Pakistan to become America’s “long-term strategic” partner. The letter “even hinted at addressing Pakistan’s oft-stated desire for a settlement of the Kashmir dispute,” he writes.
“Obama wrote that the United States would tell countries of the region that ‘the old ways of doing business are no longer acceptable’.
He acknowledged that some countries — a reference to India — had used ‘unresolved disputes to leave open bilateral wounds for years or decades. They must find ways to come together’,” Haqqani writes.