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US asks India, Pakistan to engage in talks to reduce tensions

After US President Donald Trump unveiled his new strategy on Afghanistan, United States said it expects India to take steps towards “rapprochement” with Pakistan for the larger goal of stability in the region.

world Updated: Aug 24, 2017 09:28 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
India-Pakistan,India-Pakistan talks,Afghanistan War
President Donald Trump waves as he walks from Maine One across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, August 23.(AP Photo)

The US has asked India and Pakistan to continue to engage in direct talks aimed at reducing tensions between the two countries.

“I think one of the things that we would do is ask or encourage India and Pakistan to sit down together and engage in direct dialogue that is aimed at reducing tensions between both of those countries,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters on  Wednesday.

She was responding to a question on the statement made by the secretary of state Rex Tillerson a day earlier in which he sought some steps of rapprochement on issues with Pakistan.

“What was he referring to in terms of the steps India could take?” Nauert was asked at her daily news conference.

“Well, I think going up to 30,000 feet, we view the whole strategy and handling Afghanistan as being a regional strategy, and that, of course, incorporates India as well as Pakistan, so incorporating all the nations in that region who we believe can help assist and help make Afghanistan a stable place where you’ll never have a terror group that will take root in that country again and can launch attacks on other countries,” Nauert replied when asked if Tillerson was linking, a solution on Kashmir with Pakistan-Afghanistan.

“In terms of Kashmir, our policy on that has not changed. We continue to encourage the sides to sit down and talk together about that,” the spokesperson said.

India an important regional strategic partner to US

“India is emerging as a very important regional strategic partner. They have played an important role in supporting the Afghan government and, in particular, supporting the economy,” Nauert said.

“India has provided developmental assistance, they have provided economic assistance, they’re hosting an important economic conference in India next week,” she said, adding, that the US recognises India’s contributions in Afghanistan.

“They’ve done a lot in terms of development and helping to promote Afghanistan’s economy. So we appreciate that, we’re grateful to that, and we look forward to India continuing to play a role in what we believe is an eventual – what we hope is an eventual peace process in Afghanistan,” Nauert said.

“They’ve pledged about $ 3 billion since 2001. So we continue to thank them for that and look forward to them hopefully doing more to be a part of the solution,” she said.

First Published: Aug 24, 2017 09:23 IST