Washington: Expressing disappointment over the cancellation of NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan, the US has said it would just encourage the two countries to resume a formal dialogue soon.
“We were encouraged by the early constructive interaction between the leaders of India and Pakistan earlier this year,” in Russia, State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters Monday. “We’re disappointed that the talks didn’t happen,” he said. “We just encourage India and Pakistan to resume a formal dialogue soon.”
Scheduled talks between National Security Advisers Sartaj Aziz of Pakistan and Ajit Doval of India were called off over Islamabad’s insistence on raising Kashmir and meeting Pakistani separatist leaders instead of focusing on terrorism as India wanted.
“As we’ve said, the issues are important; we recognize that. The tensions in the region are significant; we recognize that,” Kirby said.
“And we believe it’s important for leaders of both countries to resume this dialogue and discussion and to try to come to some resolution,” he said.
Asked about the possibility of talks between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Indian and Pakistani counterparts during the UN General Assembly session next month, Kirby declined to give a definitive answer.
“I think you can expect that his dance card will be pretty full,” he said. “He’ll have a very ambitious agenda of meetings and discussions.”
“And as to whether or not the leaders of India and Pakistan will use the opportunity to further discuss, I’d point you to them,” Kirby said.
“What we’ve said and I want to repeat is that these are issues for the two to resolve together,” he added. The US wants “both nations to sit down and hammer out the issues between them.”
“Some of them have to do with violent extremism and some of them don’t; we understand that,” Kirby said. “But these are issues that the two parties have got to work out.”
The US “position about terrorism and the threat that it continues to pose around the world remains the same,” Kirby said.
“And the United States will stay committed to countering violent extremism using all the elements of national power and international cooperation that we can.”
Asked if the US saw a role for itself in resolving issues between India and Pakistan, Kirby said the US position on tension in Kashmir “has not changed, that this is an issue that India and Pakistan need to resolve.”
“When it comes to countering terrorism around the world, obviously the United States plays a role and we want everybody to play a role in that.”
“But when you’re asking me about these particular tensions, we’re disappointed that the talks didn’t occur and we would like to see them resume.
Asked if the US would make any effort to restart the stalled talks, Kirby repeated: “This is an issue for India and Pakistan to come together and to resolve, and we’ve been very clear about that.”