US encourages Pak-India dialogue

WASHINGTON: Welcoming the constructive tone set by the meeting between prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi the United States has said it will continue to encourage Pakistan and India to pursue dialogue in the interest of South Asian peace and stability.

I think we have seen a constructive tone set from the very beginning by Prime Minister Modi and by Prime Minister Sharif who was one of the first leaders to speak to Prime Minister Modi after his victory in the elections a senior Obama Administration official said.

In a background briefing on the eve of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy speech senior American administration officials acknowledged the importance of Pakistan-India equation to stability in the region.

We always encourage India and Pakistan to pursue dialogue that can reduce tension. We believe that is in the interest of the entire region. And so we will continue to encourage that, the official said.

The U.S. remarks backed Prime Minister Sharif’s emphasis on Islamabad and New Delhi engaging in a sustained dialogue for resolution of the outstanding issues. So with that new leadership in India the new leadership in Pakistan and the new president coming to office in Afghanistan this year I think we have an opportunity to have that discussion about how all the countries in the region can provide for a greater stability and security. And that’s certainly something we are going to pursue.

The senior American administration officials also noted that the regional dynamics matter considerably to future stability in Afghanistan. The officials speaking on condition of anonymity were responding to a question with regard to implications of Pakistan India competition for situation in Afghanistan as the international engagement with the country transitions beyond 2014.

We are hopeful that the initial indication between both Islamabad and New Delhi is a positive one. And Prime Minister Sharif responded to the invite in attending the inauguration the first such visit in many years and as well reminiscent of the last time there was significant progress between the two countries when the BJP came to power during Prime Minister Sharif’s previous term as Prime Minister in the late 90s and they made progress along lines that looked very much like what we have now .

So we re cautiously hopeful that that could be a positive indicator but we are also mindful that this will be very important to the dynamic going forward.