Washington: India did not feature in the much hyped Barack Obama-Nawaz Sharif dialogue on Thursday which discussed a wide range of bilateral issues.
Welcoming Sharif to the White House, Obama said he looked forward to using the meeting as an opportunity to further deepen the longstanding relationship between the two countries.
“Obviously, the United States and Pakistan have a longstanding relationship,” he said. “We work and cooperate on a whole host of issues — not just on security matters, but also on economic and scientific and educational affairs.”
“And we’re looking forward to using this meeting as an opportunity to further deepen the relationship between the United States and Pakistan,” Obama said.
Praising “an extraordinary Pakistani-American community that is helping to build this country”, the president said: “And those people-to-people ties are part of what makes this relationship so special.”
Thanking Obama for inviting him to Washington once again, Sharif said “the Pakistan-America relations stand over 70 years” and it would be his “endeavor to further strengthen and solidify this relationship”.
He said he looked forward to a very constructive engagement with Obama “to add greater substance and depth to our relationship, as you’ve very frankly mentioned”.
Sharif was accompanied among others by Pakistan Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, Defence Minister Khwaja Asif and the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz.
Earlier Sharif met US Vice President Joe Biden over breakfast and discussed regional, political and security issues, particularly the cooperation on war against terrorism, according to official Pakistani news agency APP.
Ahead of his meeting with Obama, Sharif had sought to shift the focus of talks to India rather than counter-terrorism and safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons highlighted by US.
Sharif told US senators on Wednesday that the US would be the most relevant third party that could intervene to help resolve outstanding issues including Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
According to a statement issued by Sharif’s Office cited by Pakistani media, Sharif briefed members of Senate Foreign Relations Committee about his recent peace initiative towards India announced in the UN General Assembly.
“Members of Senate noted the prime minister’s proposal that given India’s resistance to bilaterally resolve outstanding issues including Kashmir, it would be imperative to have third party intervention for which the US would be most relevant,” it said.
Pakistan on Wednesday also handed over three dossiers to US Secretary of State John Kerry about alleged Indian involvement in subversive activities in the country, APP reported.
The dossiers were handed over to Kerry when he called on Sharif at the Blair House. Kerry, it said, was briefed about the alleged destabilizing role of Indian agencies in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Balochistan and Karachi.
Sharif, according to APP, also reiterated his commitment to seek normalisation with India.
However, State Department spokesperson, John Kirby told reporters on Wednesday he was “not aware that we have” received any documents relating to India from Pakistan.
(Arun Kumar, IANS)