WASHINGTON: The United States has once again urged India and Pakistan to maintain peace and stability in their region as the two neighbours also appeared determined to prevent this week’s clashes along the Line of Control from escalating into a major crisis.
“Of course, we all hope — and our Pakistani and Indian partners hope — that we can maintain peace and stability in the region,” said Pentagon Press Secretary George Little when a journalist reminded him that the reported clash along the LoC had become a national issue in India.
In the first US reaction to the firing, the State Department on Monday reminded the two neighbours to “find a positive way forward between them and to work on issues of Kashmir”.
At a Pentagon briefing, Mr Little stressed the need to review the issue in the context of ‘historical tensions’ between India and Pakistan while encouraging them to avoid further escalations.
Mr Little added that Defence Secretary Leon Panetta was well aware of these historical tensions and had affirmed America’s commitment to peace and stability in the region during his visits to South Asia.
The US official refused to be drawn into a discussion on who and what was causing terrorism in South Asia, noting that like the United States, India and Pakistan were all committed to fighting terrorists.
“Let me say that we stand with everyone in the world to include those in India and in Pakistan who take a very hard line against terrorists who want to kill civilians, whether it’s Pakistani, Indian or American civilians,” he said.
Mr Little noted that the US, India and Pakistan had all been affected by terrorism and that’s why “we believe that there needs to be a united front against terrorist groups operating in that region of the world and in others”.