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US to encourage Indo-Pak dialogue to combat terror

world Updated: Jul 24, 2010 10:44 IST

IANS
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The United States says it would continue to encourage India and Pakistan to talk and see them cooperate to combat terrorism, but it was ultimately for them to decide the pace of their dialogue.

"We certainly want to see both India and Pakistan cooperate together along with other countries in the region to combat terrorism, which is a threat to all of us," State Department spokesman Phillip Crowley told reporters Friday.

"But ultimately, how this proceeds, at what pace - these are decisions to be made respectively by Pakistan and India," he said when asked what role would the US play for confidence building measures between them.

"They are both friends and allies of the United States," he said. "It is in our interest to see the kind of substantive exchanges and dialogue that is occurring at a high level between the two countries now on a regular basis."

"That is very encouraging," he said and the US understands "that there are difficult issues that will over time be a subject of that ongoing dialogue."

"But we can certainly continue, as we always have, to encourage India to sit down, talk at high levels, engage in the issues that have created tensions between the two countries in the past," Crowley said.

Asked if there was a new kind of threat that had led the State Department to issue a travel warning for Pakistan, he said he was not aware of a new threat. "Obviously, there is an ongoing threat to Pakistan and the region and we remain concerned about it."

Asked to comment on Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna's statement about US withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of next year, Crowley assured the US "commitment to regional security is a significant one."

"The fact is we're not leaving Afghanistan or the region at the end of next year," he said. "We are going to be engaged with countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, India for a long time, because it is in our interest to do so."

"We are there to help stabilise the security situation in Afghanistan," he said. "We are there to begin to grow a legal economy in Afghanistan; increase the capacity of the Afghan government at all levels - national, regional, local."

"But our commitment to Afghanistan, we will be there for many, many years," Crowley said, though "Over time, obviously, the military element to the strategy will be reduced and the civilian element to the strategy will continue apace."