WASHINGTON: The United States has urged India and Pakistan to sit down and talk about the issues that increase tensions between South Asia’s two nuclear-armed neighbours.
“We think that both sides would certainly have to sit down and have talks about that,” said US State Department’s Spokesperson Heather Nauert said when reminded at a Tuesday afternoon news briefing that cross-border shelling between India and Pakistan has continued unabated for the past several weeks.
The Indian media reported on Tuesday that Indian and Pakistani foreign secretaries may meet in Kabul this week on the sidelines of an international conference on Afghanistan, which began on Wednesday.
If it happens, this would be the first face-to-face meeting between senior officials of the two countries since December 2017, when Indian and Pakistani national security advisers met in Bangkok.
Responding to a question about the Kabul conference, Ms Nauert said the United States would participate in this meeting. “We’re pretty enthusiastic about it, at least in terms of our participation and our long-term hopes for Afghanistan,” she said.
Ms Nauert said although the conference was about Afghanistan, the participants would also talk about “the broader region,” which included both Pakistan and India.
“We look forward to being a part of that meeting.”
She noted that delegations from Afghanistan, India, and the United States met in the Afghan capital on Tuesday on the margins of the Kabul Process Conference for the fourth round of US-India-Afghanistan trilateral consultations.
They discussed US and Indian civilian assistance to Afghanistan, “as well as regional issues of mutual interest to the three countries,” said the US official.
Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2018