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US in touch with India, Pakistan over resumption of talks

Washington: The US, through its embassies in New Delhi and Islamabad, is engaging with the Indian and Pakistani governments on bilateral talks, which the Narendra Modi Government called off while objecting to Pakistan consulting Kashmiri separatists ahead of the meeting.

"We are engaging with the governments of both India and Pakistan directly through our embassies to talk about this issue, and again, would strongly support efforts by both countries to improve their bilateral relations," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters at her daily news conference.

"So it's really up to them to take steps to improve that relationship," Harf added. India had Monday called off the talks between Foreign Secretaries of the two countries scheduled to be held in Islamabad on August 25, telling Pakistan bluntly to choose between dialogue and hobnobbing with the separatists. India canceled the talks, raising strong objections to consultations held with separatist Hurriyat leaders by Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit.

Pakistan described the cancellation of the talks as a "setback" to Indo-Pak ties and defended its consultations with Kashmiri separatists, saying it was a "long-standing practice" to hold such meetings prior to bilateral parleys.

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