New York, Feb 26 : The US condemns terrorists infiltrating the Line of Control (LoC) and expects Pakistan to play a “constructive role” in Kashmir, according to State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.
“We have been very clear that we condemn the terrorists who seek to infiltrate across the Line of Control,” he said on Thursday at his daily briefing in Washington.
He said that the US welcomed the joint statement by military officials of India and Pakistan to observe the ceasefire along the LoC and added, “We encourage continued efforts to improve communication between the two sides and to reduce tensions and violence along the Line of Control.”
Acknowledging that Pakistan is an important partner of the US, he said that Washington will be paying close attention to it and urged Pakistan to play a constructive role Kashmir.
Pressed by a reporter if the Biden administration had played a “role in helping broker this new ceasefire agreement”, Price discounted the suggestion of direct US involvement, saying, “When it comes to the US role, we continue to support direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on Kashmir and other issues of concern”.
About Washington’s relations with Islamabad, he said, “Pakistan is an important partner with whom we share many interests. We, as I said, have been clear in terms of this issue.”
He added, “Obviously, Pakistan has an important role to play when it comes to Afghanistan and what takes place across its other border. So clearly we will be paying close attention, and we urge the Pakistanis to play a constructive role in all of these areas of mutual interest, including in Afghanistan, including with Kashmir, including with our other shared interests.”
The two neighbours’ directors general of military operations (DGSMO) announced the agreement reaffirming the ceasefire on Wednesday.
Their joint statement said that after a “free, frank and cordial” assessment of the situation along the border they agreed “In the interest of achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace along the borders, the two DGsMO agreed to address each other’s core issues and concerns which have propensity to disturb peace and lead to violence.”
Earlier, President Joe Biden’s Spokesperson Jen Psaki said that the US welcomed the agreement as “a positive step towards greater peace and stability in South Asia, which is in our shared interest and we encourage both countries to keep building upon this progress”.
Asked whether Pakistan was doing enough to combat terrorism, Psaki did not give a direct reply.
She said, “We remain closely engaged with a range of leaders and officials in the region, including those in Pakistan. But in terms of an assessment of that I would point you to the State Department or the intelligence Department.”
(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)