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US urges India, Pak to engage in direct dialogue

The US said the two countries would benefit from a ‘practical cooperation’.

india Updated: May 15, 2017 22:51 IST
Dr Deepak Mittal, joint secretary of India's external affairs ministry,  greets Pakistan's Syed Faraz Hussain Zaidi before the court proceedings begin at The Hague, Netherlands, on May 15, 2017.
Dr Deepak Mittal, joint secretary of India's external affairs ministry, greets Pakistan's Syed Faraz Hussain Zaidi before the court proceedings begin at The Hague, Netherlands, on May 15, 2017. (AP)

The US on Monday urged India and Pakistan to engage in direct dialogue to reduce tension as they faced-off at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the death penalty given to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Navy officer accused of spying.

“We believe India and Pakistan stand to benefit from practical cooperation,” a state department spokesperson told PTI.

When asked about the US’ stand on Jadhav, who is facing the death penalty in Pakistan, the official said, “We encourage India and Pakistan to engage in direct dialogue aimed at reducing tension.”

Jadhav was arrested in March last year and sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and subversive activities. His sentencing has become the latest flashpoint in India-Pakistan ties.

Pakistan denied India consular access to Jadhav 16 times, claiming he was an agent of the intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing.

His execution was stayed last week by the ICJ, which on Monday heard arguments presented by both the sides. The court reserved the order and will set a date for the verdict later.