No 'outside solution' for Kashmir: Obama

Ruling out any solution from 'outside' to the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, US President Barack Obama on Sunday underlined that disputes between India and Pakistan can only be resolved by the two countries themselves.

Welcoming the Indo-Pak dialogue process, he said, 'it is not the place of any nation, including the United States, to try to impose solutions from the outside.

'That said, nations must meet their responsibilities and all of us have a profound interest in a Pakistan that is stable, prosperous and democratic.'

The US president was responding to a question on the current state of Indo-Pak relations and the best way forward for the two countries to resolve their bilateral matters, including Jammu and Kashmir.

Obama said that the US welcomed any dialogue and lessening of Indo-Pak tensions which would be good for South Asia and for the world.

'President [Asif Ali] Zardari's visit to India was encouraging. Increased trade and people-to-people contacts between Indians and Pakistanis can lead to greater prosperity and understanding on both sides.

'Efforts in New Delhi and Islamabad to improve relations give hope for further progress, including a possible visit to Pakistan by Prime Minister [Manmohan] Singh,' he said.

The US leader answered questions on the future of Afghanistan and India's role in it, as well as the US strategy in the Asia-Pacific region which is seen by some commentators as aimed at making India a counterweight to the growing military and economic muscle of China.

'India will be critical to Afghanistan's future,' he said pointing out that it had also been critical to Afghanistan's progress to date.
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