The Dawn

KL NEWS NETWORK

SRINAGAR

SOUTH AFRICA CRICKET TWENTY20 WORLDSThe US Department of Defence, in its first reaction to the current India-Pakistan conflict, has urged both militaries to continue talking as it would help reduce tensions.

“We are aware that the Indian and Pakistani militaries have been in communication with one another and we encourage these continued discussions between India and Pakistan as a means to reduce any tensions that may be out there,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook told a briefing.

“We’re encouraged by that and we certainly would encourage those conversations to continue,” he added.

Cook said that various branches of the US government — including the Pentagon — were maintaining regular contacts with both India and Pakistan.

Asked to comment on alleged threats from Islamabad to go for the nuclear option if India imposed war on Pakistan, Cook said: “Again, the secretary (Ashton Carter) would hope, as the United States government would hope, that tensions between Pakistan and India would be lowered and that there would be an effort at communication here to try and address those concerns.”

Diplomatic observers in Washington have noted that despite its declared policy of not interfering in India-Pakistan dispute, the US government has been continuously encouraging both neighbours to stay engaged and to reduce tensions.

This, they argue, shows the level of concern in Washington over the current situation and is a significant departure from its stated policy that it is for India and Pakistan to decide how to resolve their differences.

At a recent briefing, a State Department spokesperson also made it clear that its efforts to reduce tensions between India and Pakistan are rooted in its ‘strong ties’ with both states and it wants to retain those ties.

“We have strong ties with both Pakistan and India, and we’ll engage on that basis,” said Elizabeth Trudeau, director of the State Department’s Press Office.

In a separate response to The Dawn, another State Department official said that the United States had maintained “high-level engagement with both governments,” amid reports of clashes between Indian and Pakistani troops along the Line of Control.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has spoken twice to his Indian counterpart since the clashes began late month and some media reports claimed that he also had spoken to senior Pakistani officials.

Ms Trudeau refused to confirm or reject a suggestion that India had conducted a “surgical strike” inside Pakistan last week, killing an undisclosed number of militants.

(The news report was first published by The Dawn.com)

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