US wants India, Pakistan discussions to continue

Washington: Welcoming the resumption of talks between India and Pakistan, the US on Thursday said it was exactly what it has been strongly trying to encourage and asked the two neighbours to reach diplomatic solutions to some of the "thorny problems" which they still face.

"We want to see the discussions continue, so we're encouraged by the recent dialogue between India and Pakistan. It's exactly what we've been strongly trying to encourage," State Department Spokesman John Kirby said.

However, it is for the two South Asian countries to decide on the pace and scope for such talks, he reiterated. "It is for India and Pakistan to bilaterally work out the issues between them and to continue to have a dialogue and to discuss and to reach diplomatic solutions to some of the thorny problems which the two countries still face," Kirby said in response to a question.

"We would leave it to those countries to determine who's going to have what meeting and who's going to sit in on what discussion," he said.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj this week travelled to Pakistan where she attended the 'Heart of Asia' ministerial conference on Afghanistan.

During her two-day visit, she called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and hold talks with her counterpart Sartaj Aziz. Swaraj's visit came days after talks between the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan in Bangkok, where they discussed terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and a range of key bilateral issues apart from agreeing to carry forward the "constructive" engagement.

A joint statement issued after the meeting of NSAs said the talks were held pursuant to a meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the climate meet in Paris.

When asked about the recent visit of Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif to the US, Kirby said there was nothing new in it.

"They've been coming to visit counterparts here in the US for quite some time, as do our military leaders go to Islamabad. Our bilateral relations with Pakistan are important," Kirby said.

"I know they're going to continue to be important, not just with the military but with the elected officials as well," he said.

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