In a snub to Basit’s remark, US backs Indo-Pak talks

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit during an  interaction with media at Foreign Correspondent Club in New Delhi on April 8, 2016.  Photo - PTI

New Delhi: Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit during an interaction with media at Foreign Correspondent Club in New Delhi on April 8, 2016.
Photo – PTI

The US administration has once again backed direct talks between India and Pakistan to reduce the tension and address issues between the two. Stressing that it encourages “direct” Indo-Pak talks to reduce tensions, US said it believes that both countries would benefit from “practical cooperation”.

Interestingly, United States once again expressed its long-held view on India-Pakistan bilateral ties hours after Pakistan envoy in New Delhi Abdul Basit said that the bilateral peace process between the two nations stands “suspended”.

“We believe and it’s been our longstanding position that India and Pakistan stand to benefit from the normalisation of relations and practical cooperation, and we encourage them to do so, to engage in direct dialogue that’s aimed at reducing tensions between the two governments and two countries,” State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.

“We strongly support those efforts, because we believe it will lead to greater stability and peace in the region and is to the benefit of both countries,” Toner said in response to a question on Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit’s remarks on Thursday that presently the peace process was suspended.

Reiterating that there is no change in US’ Kashmir policy, the Deputy spokesperson of State department said that pace, scope, and character of talks on this issue depends on India and Pakistan.

“Our policy regarding Kashmir has not changed. The pace, scope and character of those discussions or any discussions on Kashmir must be for the two sides to determine,” he said.

“We support any and all positive steps that India and Pakistan can take to forge closer relations,” the senior official added.

The US official, however, did not respond to questions on the arrest of the Indian national. “I am aware of the reports about the arrest. I don’t have any details of the arrest,” Toner said.

(With inputs from PTI)