International Relations

US Again Asks India, Pakistan To Engage In Direct Dialogue To Reduce Tension

WASHINGTON : The United States on Wednesday again urged India and Pakistan to engage in direct dialogue to reduce tension, a day after the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said India could take some steps of rapprochement on issues with Pakistan to improve stability. Speaking about the militant groups and regional approach to the US efforts for peace and stability at a briefing on Tuesday, Secretary Tillerson said that India and Pakistan had their own issues that they had to continue to work through. “But I think there are areas where perhaps even India can take some steps of rapprochement on issues with Pakistan to improve the stability within Pakistan and remove some of the reasons why they deal with these unstable elements inside their own country,” he went on to say.

“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,” said US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert at a press briefing, when asked to comment on Tillerson’s remarks. When pressed to respond if the Secretary was linking a solution on Kashmir with Pakistan-Afghanistan issue, Nauert said that the United States viewed the whole strategy and handling Afghanistan as being a regional strategy which included India as well as Pakistan. She said that on Kashmir, the United States continue to encourage the sides to sit down and talks together about that. Asked if U.S. support Pakistan efforts to put a fence or a wall along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, she said that the US haven’t had conversation with the Pakistani government about that proposal. The spokesperson stated that the United States did not believe that there was a long-term military “fighting-it-out solution” to peace in Afghanistan.

“We believe that it’s ultimately a political solution that is obtained through diplomacy.” Meanwhile, the US media continued to debate President Trump’s new strategy on Afghanistan and South Asia as an opinion article in the New York Times cautioned that alienating Pakistan could make the situation in Afghanistan far worse. President Trump in his speech made an oft-repeated remarks against Pakistan of providing safe havens to some militant groups, allegations Pakistan has already rejected. Commenting on threats that US could severe aid to Pakistan, the NYT report said that American Policy-makers have repeatedly considered and rejected that possibility before. “Pakistan also has a powerful ally in China, which is likely to step into any breach in American assistance. Alienating Pakistan could make the situation in Afghanistan far worse,” the NYT article said.

A separate NYT opinion article observed that President Trump’s invitation to India “to help us more with Afghanistan” would certain to bring an adverse reaction from Pakistan and would enrage its military. Top US officials at a briefing on Wednesday at the US Institute of Peace (USIP) repeated several times that US considers Pakistan an “important partner” that shares many common interests and enemies. The officials spoke on the condition that they would not be identified, according to a report by the USIP posted on its website. They said that US recognizes the sacrifices Pakistan has made in the fight against terrorism. “The officials said they aim for a ‘mature constructive relationship’ with Pakistan,” the USIP report said.