US says meeting of Indo-Pak foreign secretaries encouraging

Published March 7, 2015
US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf. — AFP/File
US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf. — AFP/File

WASHINGTON: The United States says it welcomed the meeting between the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan and the decision to resume dialogue was encouraging, given the tension in Kashmir region during the past six months.

Addressing a news conference, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said that the United States "believes that both India and Pakistan stand to benefit from practical cooperation and an improved relationship".

Harf said improved ties between the two countries "would be good for regional peace and stability in South Asia".

The statement comes days after Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had made an official two-day visit to Islamabad, during which he held separate meetings with his Pakistani counterpart and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Read: Samjhota Express, LoC violations discussed: Aizaz Chaudhry

The visit was part of Jaishankar's tour of Saarc countries that India has dubbed as the (Saarc yatra).

During the foreign secretary-level meeting, India mentioned Mumbai, Pakistan referred to the Samjhota Express, Pakistan mentioned alleged Indian involvement in Balochistan and Fata and India pointed to alleged Pakistan-based anti-India militancy. Both sides brought up violence along the LoC and Working Boundary.

Also read: More of the same

The arrival of the Indian foreign secretary was viewed as the first tentative step towards reviving the stalled Indo-Pak peace talks by pledging to work together to find common ground, but it remained unclear when the dialogue would reconvene.

Dialogue has remained suspended because of continuing ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and Working Boundary, which witnessed the worst skirmishes in the past two years since the 2003 truce.

Also read: India calls off foreign secretary level talks with Pakistan

India had also cancelled planned foreign secretary talks in August last year following Pakistani High Commissioner to New Delhi Abdul Basit's meeting with the Kashmiri leadership.

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