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'U.S. troops not to cross over into Pak.'

By Sridhar Krishnaswami

Washington March 26. The Bush administration has announced that U.S. troops in Afghanistan will not cross the border with Pakistan to prevent fighters of the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda getting sanctuary in the tribal areas.

To a question whether U.S. troops would cross the border, the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, said at the Pentagon: "No. President Musharraf has been enormously cooperative. He has put forces along that border. He has been cooperative in every respect that we've requested of him.''

Meanwhile, the White House said that relations between India and Pakistan, including the importance of a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir problem, remained a top priority for the administration. Talking about relations with India, the spokesman, Ari Fleischer, said, "Relations between India and the U.S. are indeed very important. They always have been and always will continue to be. And the issue, particularly involving what's happening in Afghanistan, makes it even more so because of the relations between India and Pakistan... the importance of a peaceful resolution of any of the differences involving Kashmir. So it's top priority; it's something that the President has focussed on, and continues to focus on, as well as the State Department, too, of course."

PTI reports from New Delhi:

The Congressman, Frank Pallone, today opposed American military sales to Pakistan and said Washington should view India separately from the way it sees Pakistan.

"I strongly oppose the U.S. decision of military sales to Pakistan as Islamabad still continues to support acts of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the region," Mr. Pallone said at a discussion on `Deepening Indo-U.S. synergy in the fight against terror', organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry here.

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