Washington hails ties with New Delhi

June 2, 2010 at 4:10 PM

WASHINGTON, June 2 (UPI) -- Cooperation between New Delhi and Washington is at a high point but India's tensions with nuclear-armed Pakistani are bilateral issues, U.S. officials said.

William Burns, the U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, delivered a speech on U.S. relations with India to the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.

Burns told the audience that cooperation with India in counter-terrorism and defense was at an all-time high

"Never has there been a moment when India and America mattered more to one another," he said.

Washington is hosting a delegation of Indian officials this week to take part in a strategic dialogue session. The high-level meetings are expected to last through the week.

Burns downplayed concerns that U.S. ties to Pakistan undermined any strategic partnership with India, saying the close ties to Islamabad didn't come at India's expense.

"We refuse to accept the notion that somehow we can have strong relations with only one country in South Asia at a time," he said.

India and Pakistan are at odds over a litany of issues. Ties were strained most recently when Pakistani-based militants stormed Mumbai in November 2008.

Burns said Washington was interested in better ties between the nuclear-armed foes but wouldn't interfere in bilateral affairs without a formal request for help.

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