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

Washington: The US has asked India and Pakistan to engage in direct dialogue to reduce bilateral tensions and resolve issues, including Kashmir.

“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 yesterday.

Her remarks came in response to the statement made by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson a day earlier in which he sought some rapprochement steps from India on issues with Pakistan.

Asked what steps India could take and if Tillerson was linking a solution on Kashmir with Pakistan-Afghanistan, Nauert said the US views the whole strategy and the handling of Afghanistan as being a regional strategy, and that 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 said.

Asked if the US sees pushing for a solution on Kashmir as part of this regional strategy to deal with Afghanistan, she said, “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.

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