Washington, Oct 22: The US on Tuesday said it supports a direct dialogue between India and Pakistan as outlined in the Simla Agreement, but Islamabad’s continued support to extremist groups that engage in cross-border terrorism remains the “chief obstacle” to talks with New Delhi.
“We believe that direct dialogue between India and Pakistan, as outlined in the 1972 Simla Agreement, holds the most potential for reducing tensions,” Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice G Wells told Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“Restarting a productive bilateral dialogue requires building trust, and the chief obstacle remains Pakistan’s continued support for extremist groups that engage in cross-border terrorism,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice G Wells .
She said during 2006-2007 backchannel negotiations, India and Pakistan reportedly made significant progress on a number of issues, including Kashmir.
“History shows us what is possible,” Ms Wells said in a statement submitted to the Congressional subcommittee on a day before the hearing on “Human Rights in South Asia: Views from the State Department and the Region”.
“We believe the foundation of any successful dialogue between India and Pakistan is based on Pakistan taking sustained and irreversible steps against militants and terrorists in its territory,” Wells said.