The decision by India and Pakistan to resume their dialogue is a "positive step" that will help in the war on terror in the region, the White House has said.
"Obviously there is a long way to go. But certainly the de-escalation of tension between the two countries" would help in the fight against Taliban and Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said on Friday.
Gibbs made the comment in response to a question about Thursday's meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani in Bhutan on the margins of a South Asian Summit.
A day before the meeting, a State Department spokesman had described the meeting as good for the region.
"We always think that when leaders of countries, particularly countries with the unique history of India and Pakistan, anytime they can get together for high-level constructive dialogue, that is good for the region and we support it," spokesman Philip J. Crowley told reporters.
"We have encouraged India and Pakistan that they need to restore a high-level dialogue that they have had in the not-too-distant past," he said, when asked what role the US had played in bringing about the Singh-Gilani meeting on the sidelines of the SAARC summit.
"There have been some significant steps by both countries to restore dialogue, both at the leader level and at other levels, and we certainly encourage that," he added.
Asked if President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had relayed a common message to the prime ministers of India and Pakistan during bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, he said the US had encouraged the leaders to restore direct dialogue.
"We have encouraged the leaders of Pakistan and India to restore direct dialogue that has been characteristic of the relationship between those two countries within the last few years, and we're encouraged that they are taking steps to do that," Crowley said.