Amid escalating war of words between India and Pakistan, the US has called for Indo-Pak dialogue to reduce tensions, saying it does not want to see the situation to spiral out of control and lead to “some kind of incident”.
“We strongly encourage in all of our dealings with either India and/or Pakistan stronger relations between the two countries. It’s clearly in the security interests of the region that they work to de-escalate tensions and that they have dialogue,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner told reporters yesterday at his daily news conference.
“That’s something we constantly encourage for just that or out of just that concern, which is that we don’t want to see tensions escalate, spiral out of control, and lead to some kind of incident,” he said.
Toner’s remarks came amid escalating war of words between India and Pakistan, and on a day Pakistan accused India of “destabilising” it by financing terrorism and supporting militancy, in a fresh rhetoric after Prime Minister Narendra Modi rapped Islamabad for “producing and exporting” terror.
In back-to-back remarks at international summits, the Prime Minister criticised Pakistan for sponsoring terror and sought sanctioning and isolation of the country.
“It is important for the two countries, the two governments to maintain strong, cordial, and productive relations,” Toner said in response to a question seeking his reaction on American senators’ remarks that the US should play the role of mediator between the Pakistan and India.
The US, he said, wants Pakistan to take more action against terrorist network.
“Our discussions continue to focus on the fact that we’re urging the Government of Pakistan to take concerted action against safe havens and terrorist groups that threaten other countries in the region and we’ve been very clear about that,” he said.
“And we have seen them attempt to address it. We want to see more action taken, but it continues to be a topic of conversation with them,” he added.
Toner said America’s relationship with India and Pakistan is not a zero-sum game.
“As we’ve said many times, there’s no zero-sum game here.
We need to have a very strong and robust relationship with India and we do the world’s largest democracy. And we also want to have a strong relationship with Pakistan. It’s in the interests of the region to do so,” he said.
“The recent India and Bangladesh visit of the Secretary of State (John Kerry) and not going to Pakistan should not be treated otherwise,” Toner said.
“It doesn’t clearly indicate anything about our relationship with Pakistan. The Secretary has a very intense travel schedule. He’s been to Pakistan recently; he speaks often to senior Pakistani leadership,” he said,
“Specifically, he was in India for the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue and took the opportunity to also visit Bangladesh I think the first time he’s been there,” he added.