India?s growing clout in Kabul may impact stability: US Gen - India - NEWS - The Times of India India’s growing clout in Kabul may impact stability: US Gen WASHINGTON: As the grandees of the international community gather this week in Pittsburgh, formerly the city of steel, with international economy and climate change on top of the agenda, the issue before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his 30-hour sortie there is to figure out why the United States is blowing hot and cold in its dealings with India. The mixed signals emanating from Washington is best illustrated by one paragraph, the only one relating to India, in the report by US General Stanley McChrystal about the dire situation in the Af-Pak theatre. It reads: “Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan, including significant development efforts and financial investment. In addition, the current Afghan government is perceived by Islamabad to be pro-Indian. While Indian activities largely benefit the Afghan people, increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani countermeasures in Afghanistan or India.’’ Dubbed the “McChrystal Unclear’’ report, the observation has left Indian officials scratching their heads. So what exactly does the remark imply? That India should scale down its influence in Afghanistan, even though its activities “largely benefit the Afghan people”? That the Obama administration needs to ask New Delhi to dilute its presence in Afghanistan in order not to “exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani countermeasures in Afghanistan or India’’ a thinly-disguised euphemism for Pakistani terrorism? In as much as New Delhi is loath to make Pakistan the focus of its exchanges with Washington, preferring to rise above regional issues to tackle a much broader bilateral and international agenda, Islamabad remains a festering sore by its side. In fact, Pakistan, famously described as an “international migraine” by Madeleine Albright, does not make the G-20 cut, but will be the unpleasant ghost in the room both in Pittsburgh and New York where world leaders will confer this week on subjects ranging from climate change to trade barriers. The G-20 pow-wow also provides an opportunity for Singh to get some clarity on the US-India civilian nuclear deal, which appears to be getting derailed by President Obama’s zealous pursuit of a non-proliferation agenda he is expected to elaborate on during his UN appearance. Sorting out these complex, inter-related matters – including climate change and trade issues – will be crucial to the success of the Prime Minister’s state visit to Washington DC two months from now, on November 24. Foreign secretary Nirupama Rao dropped in on a day-long visit here on Monday to confer with her opposite number William Burns about the bilateral agenda, including vexing counter-terrorism issues where Washington and New Delhi clearly do not see eye-to-eye. In fact, her visit coincided with the US Congress clearing a massive $ 2billion plus aid package for Pakistan that does not inhibit Islamabad from using the military component against India. While Singh has avoided meeting the Pakistani leadership by skipping the UN General Assembly meeting in New York, foreign minister S M Krishna confirmed to TOI that he will be meeting his Pakistan counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi. But it is a meeting sans joy or expectation, given Pakistan’s open reluctance to act on its terrorist protégés such as Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, although Islamabad undertook some phony custodial measures over the weekend to prepare ground for the exchanges that Krishna says will focus primarily on the issue of Pakistan’s actions — or inaction. While Pakistan presents itself as a victim of terrorism, and an innocent one at that, the McChrystal report should disabuse Washington and other Friends of Pakistan (which is meeting in New York this week to dole out additional $ 5 billion) of that. “Afghanistan’s insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan. Senior leaders of the major Afghan insurgent groups are based in Pakistan, are linked with al-Qaida and other violent extremist groups, and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan’s lSI,’’ America’s top General in Afghanistan said.