By Lalit K Jha :
US PRESIDENT Donald Trump is encouraging a reduction in tensions between India and Pakistan, the White House said on Friday, emphasising that any successful dialogue between the two neighbours would be possible only if Pakistan cracks down on terrorists and extremists on its territory. Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after New Delhi ended the Special Status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 last year. India’s decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded its diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian envoy.
“I think what you’ll hear from the President is very much encouraging a reduction in tensions between India and Pakistan, encouraging the two countries to engage in bilateral dialogue with each other to resolve their differences,” a senior administration official said, when asked whether Trump would offer to mediate on the Kashmir issue again during his upcoming maiden visit to India. Trump had last month again offered to “help” resolve the dispute between India and Pakistan, saying that the US was watching the developments between the two countries over Kashmir “very closely”.
Although Trump offered to mediate on the Kashmir issue in the past, New Delhi has told Washington that it is a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan and there is no scope for any third-party mediation. “We continue to believe a core foundation of any successful dialogue between the two (Indian and Pakistan) is based on continued momentum in Pakistan’s efforts to crack down on terrorists and extremists on its territory. So we continue to look for that,” the official said.
The White House official’s comments came after the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) retained Pakistan for four more months on the ‘Grey List’ with a stern warning from the global anti-terror financing watchdog to complete the 27-point action plan it has been given by June 2020 or face being put on the ‘Black List’. “But I think the President will urge both countries to seek to maintain peace and stability along the Line of Control (LoC) and refrain from actions or statements that could increase tensions in the region,” said the official who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.
‘Trump’s visit to India demonstrates strong, enduring ties between two countries’
US PRESIDENT Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to India demonstrates the strong and enduring ties between the two largest democracies of the world, the White House said on Friday. “These are ties based on shared democratic traditions, common strategic interests, and enduring bonds between our people. And, in part, this has been exemplified by the very close relationship between the President and Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said the official, requesting anonymity.