US encourages strong relations between India, Pakistan

Washington, Sep 9 (IANS) The US encourages “stronger relations” between India and Pakistan and desires that both countries work to de-escalate tensions, deputy spokesperson of the State Department Mark Toner has said.

Responding to a question about US’s role as mediator between Pakistan and India, Toner in a press briefing on Thursday said: “We strongly encourage in all of our dealings with either India and/or Pakistan, stronger relations between the two countries.”

He also said that it was in the “security interests of the region that they work to de-escalate tensions and have dialogue”.

Islamabad and New Delhi began a “comprehensive dialogue” to improve ties between the two nations which saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brief stop-over in Lahore on December 25 last year to greet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his birthday.

However, ties between the two nations derailed after the January 2 Pathankot attack in Punjab. Seven security personnel were killed when at least five militants, suspectedly from Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed militant group, attacked the Indian air-base.

According to Toner, the US constantly encourages dialogue between the two neighbouring nations because “we don’t want to see tensions escalate, spiral out of control, and lead to some kind of incident”, adding that it was important for the two governments to maintain strong, cordial, and productive ties.

–IANS

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