US says supports direct Pakistan-India talks on ‘issues of concern’

ISLAMABAD: The United States has said that it encourages direct dialogue between Pakistan and India on “issues of concern,” as signs have emerged in recent weeks of rapprochement in relations between the South Asian neighbours.

“What I would say is that we continue to support direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on issues of concern,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at his daily news briefing.

When asked about the decision by the Pakistani cabinet not to import sugar and cotton from India, Price said, “I wouldn’t want to comment on that specifically.”

Islamabad downgraded its diplomatic relations with New Delhi and suspended bilateral trade in August 2019 after India revoked a special clause from its constitution to remove the special status of Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).

Last week, Prime Minister Imran Khan replied to a letter by his Indian counterpart on the occasion of Pakistan’s republic day, saying the people and government of Pakistan wanted “peaceful, cooperative relations with all neighbours, including India”.

In his letter to Imran, Modi had also said that India wanted “cordial relations with the people of Pakistan”.

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