US State Department welcomes Jaishankar’s Islamabad visit
The United States has welcomed the meeting between the foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan and said the decision to resume dialogue was encouraging, given the tension in Kashmir region during the past six months. The views of the United States Government were expressed by State Department spokesperson Marie Harf, while addressing a news conference. Harf said the United State “believes that both India and Pakistan stand to benefit from practical cooperation and an improved relationship”. She further said the improved ties between the two countries “would be good for regional peace and stability in South Asia”.
Harf’s statement has come days after Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had made an official two-day visit to Islamabad, during which he held separate meetings with his Pakistani counterpart and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The visit was part of India’s newly appointed foreign secretary’s tour of SAARC countries that has been dubbed as the SAARC yatra.
During the foreign secretary-level meeting, India mentioned Mumbai terror attack while Pakistan brought the subject of the Samjhota Express blast; Pakistan mentioned alleged Indian involvement in Balochistan and Fata and India pointed to alleged Pakistan-based anti-India militancy. Both sides brought up violence along the LoC and Working Boundary.
Interestingly, two days back, China too had welcomed Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar’s recent visit to Islamabad. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying had said the visit was a positive sign for improving relations. He had also said that improving ties between India and Pakistan was of paramount interest to peace and development in the region and offered its support to resolve bilateral disputes through peaceful dialogue. China is an observer in SAARC, but has been seeking entry into the regional grouping with support primarily from Pakistan. Besides China, the US, Japan, South Korea, Iran, Myanmar, Mauritius, Australia and EU are SAARC observers.
Islamabad was S. Jaishankar’s third stop during “SAARC yatra” after Thimpu and Dhaka.