Washington: Concerned over the increasing tension between India and Pakistan over the brutal killing of two Indian soldiers, the US has instructed its envoys in New Delhi and Islamabad to work with the two governments to de-escalate the situation.
“Obviously, she (US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) talked to our South Asia people about it yesterday and today. She has instructed our ambassadors to work with those governments, which they are doing,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters.
“There were calls made at the ambassadorial level in both countries,” Nuland said, as she urged for calm between the two countries.
“We are concerned about reports of violence along the Line of Control in Kashmir. It’s our understanding that the governments of India and Pakistan are now talking and trying to work through these issues at a high level,” Nuland told reporters.
“We’re urging both sides to take steps to end the violence. We continue to strongly support any efforts to improve relations between the two countries. We’ve also discussed these latest incidents with both governments, urged them to talk to each other and urged calm,” she said.
The US is counselling both countries to work to de-escalate tension.
“We have been counseling both governments to de-escalate, to work through this issue, to continue the consultations between them at a high level that we understand are ongoing now. Violence is not the answer for either country,” Nuland said.
Responding to a question, Nuland said that the US favours that the two countries should talk to each other to resolve their issues and reiterated the UN position, saying that the Washington would support any UN role if both the countries agree.
“Our view is that India and Pakistan have made pretty good progress in recent years, in working through a number of difficult issues, including opening of the trade relations, etc, that they are now engaged at a high level on these recent incidents,” Nuland said.
“If they can work it out themselves, that’s obviously best. If both parties were interested in support from the UN, we’d obviously support that as well. But at the moment, we’re urging them to talk to each other,” Nuland said.
“We all hope that we can maintain peace and stability in the region. The Secretary (of Defense) has affirmed that on visits throughout that region, including to India,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters yesterday.
The issue of tensions, historical tensions between India and Pakistan, is one that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, knows very well, he said in response to a question.
His remarks came after Pakistani regular soldiers crossed into Indian territory in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir and ambushed an Indian patrol killing two soldiers, one of whom was decapitated in a “provocative” attack.
“On the issue of terrorism, let me say that we stand with everyone in the world to include those in India and in Pakistan who take a very hard line against terrorists who want to kill civilians, whether it’s Pakistani, Indian or American civilians,” Little said.
“We have all been affected by terrorism, and we believe that there needs to be a united front against terrorist groups operating in that region of the world and in others,” he said. The department (of defence) officials have had regular dialogue with Indian counterparts, he said.
“As you know, Deputy Secretary (of Defense, Ashton) Carter has been asked to take on the role of looking at how we might be able to facilitate transfers more effectively and more efficiently with the government of India. And that process is ongoing,” Little said.