Warmer ties in interest of India, Pakistan

Tuesday, Jan 5, 2016,16:59 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Washington | Amid uncertainty over Indo-Pak Foreign Secretary-level talks, the US has said it believes warmer ties and increased cooperation between India and Pakistan would be in their interest but it is for the leaders of the two countries to decide on the way forward.

The United States certainly believes that warmer relations and more cooperation between the government of India and the government of Pakistan would be in the interest of both countries.

But ultimately, the leaders of those countries will have to decide for themselves, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters yesterday.

Earnest was responding to questions on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Lahore and the terror strike by Pakistani terrorists at the Pathankot air base.

The remarks came as an element of uncertainty prevailed over next week’s Foreign Secretary-level talks amid indications that these may be deferred in the wake of the terror attack.

Obviously the leaders of both countries are gonna have to decide for themselves what they believe is in the interests of their citizens, Earnest said. Jaishankar is scheduled to hold discussions with his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry to chalk out a roadmap to carry forward the engagement under the newly- announced Bilateral Comprehensive Dialogue.

Responding to another question, Earnest said it is in the interest of Pakistan to take actions against terror groups. The government of Pakistan has their own interest in trying to fight extremism and fight terrorist organisations that are operating inside their own country, he said, adding that the US has offered its support to the Pakistani government.

We obviously want to help them particularly in light of that terrible terrorist incident where we saw an extremist organisation carry out an attack against an elementary school inside Pakistan.

That was a little over a year ago, I believe, he said, referring to horrific Taliban attack on a Peshawar school in which over 150 people, mostly school children, were killed.

That was I think was a rather vivid illustration for people who don’t closely follow this issue that citizens in Pakistan and the Pakistani government have their own vested interest in trying to deal with terrorist organisations that are attempting to operate inside the country, and the United States obviously strongly supports the Pakistan government as they do that, he said.

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