Mark Toner’s com­ments came on the eve of US de­fence sec­re­tary Carter’s In­dia trip

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

New Delhi: TheUShas­nudgedNew Del­hi­andIs­lam­abad­to­con­tin­ue­with the peace process and en­gage in a di­rect di­a­logue to re­duce ten­sion, af­ter Pak­istan made con­tra­dic­tory state­ments on talks with In­dia. Pak­istan high com­mis­sioner to In­dia Ab­dul Ba­sit said here last Thurs­day that the talks be­tween the neigh­bour­swere­sus­pended,evok­ing a sharp re­ac­tion from In­dia.

“…we be­lieve and it’s been our long­stand­ing po­si­tion that In­dia and Pak­istan stand to ben­e­fit from the nor­mal­i­sa­tion of re­la­tions and prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion, and we en­cour­age them to do so, to en­gage in di­rect di­a­logue that’s aimed at re­duc­ing ten­sions be­tween the two govern­ments and two coun­tries,” US State De­part­ment deputy spokesper­son Mark C Toner said in Wash­ing­ton in re­sponse to a ques­tion on Ba­sit’s com­ments. “And, we strongly sup­port those ef­forts, be­cause we be­lieve it, ob­vi­ously, will lead to greater sta­bil­ity and peace in the re­gion,” Toner said.

Toner’s com­ments, on Fri­day, came on the eve of de­fence sec­re­tary Ash­ton Carter’s In­dia trip. Ahead of the visit, Carter has de­scribed In­dia as a global part­ner and Pak­istan, es­sen­tially, as an ally on counter-ter­ror ef­forts. When asked about the ar­rest of an al­leged In­dian agent in Pak­istan’s Balochis­tan, Toner said: “I am aware of the re­ports about the ar- rest. I don’t have any­thing –any de­tails of the ar­rest.”

The US diplo­mat also steered clear of Pak­istan’s al­le­ga­tions of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions in J&K. “Look, our pol­icy re­gard­ing Kash­mir has not changed. As we’ve long said, the pace, scope, and char­ac­ter of those dis­cus­sions or any dis­cus­sions on Kash­mir must be for the two sides to de­ter­mine. We sup­port any and all pos­i­tive step­sthatIn­di­aandPak­istan­can­take to forge closer re­la­tions.” On Thurs­day, high com­mis­sioner Ba­sit had said: “As of now there is no date for the for­eign sec­re­tary talks. I think you can say for now that the Com­pre­hen­sive Bi­lat­eral Di­a­logue is sus­pended. Let’s see if we can com­mence the process.” Re­act­ing to it, Min­istry of Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs said the high com­mis­sioner had been con­tra­dicted by his own for­eign min­istry spokesper­son who on Thurs­day evening it­self said the “coun­tries are in con­tact” to work out dates.

Na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser AK Do­val di­alled his Pak­istani coun­ter­part on Fri­day and sought clar­i­fi­ca­tion on Islamabad’s po­si­tion on the is­sue. Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials who did not wish­to­bei­den­ti­fied­toldETthatB­a­sit was align­ing his po­si­tion with hard­lin­ers in­clud­ing the Pak Army. “It ap­pearsthathe­isoutof loopand­hi­saim is to cast shadow on the process and test In­dia,” a source said. How­ever, there is ex­pec­ta­tion in the es­tab­lish­ment here that the process of en­gage­ment with Pak­istan will move for­ward, but grad­u­ally and step by step.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.