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US Terms Pak-India Ties Critical For Regional Peace

US Terms Pak-India Ties Critical For Regional Peace

WASHINGTON: The relationship between India and Pakistan is critical for advancing peace and security in South Asia, says the US State Department as the two countries move closer to resuming bilateral talks.

“We believe that India and Pakistan stand to benefit from practical cooperation and are encouraged that they may resume dialogue aimed at reducing tensions,” the department’s spokesperson Jen Psaki told a briefing in Washington.

Indian officials announced in New Delhi on Friday that their Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar will soon travel to Islamabad to discuss his ‘agenda’ with Pakistani leaders.

If it materialises, this will be the first high-level visit from India since relations between the two neighbours soured last year.

Also on Friday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called four South Asian leaders, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and discussed bilateral relations with him.

“The relationship between India and Pakistan is critical to advancing peace and security in South Asia, so we would certainly welcome any resumption of talks between the two countries,” said Ms Psaki when asked to comment on these developments.

Diplomatic sources in Washington say that during his visit to India late last month, President Obama urged Mr Modi to resume talks with Pakistan and also discussed his initiative with Mr Sharif.

Mr Obama had also telephoned the Pakistani prime minister before leaving for India.

Published in Dawn February 16th , 2015

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