India-Pakistan Dialogue Top Priority; But Conducive Atmosphere Required

India-Pakistan dialogue is very much on cards with a new government in Islamabad. However, the US feels a conducive atmosphere needs to be created first before India and Pakistan head for a dialogue. The US believes that talks and terror cannot go hand-in-hand and wants to work with Pakistan to establish stability and a political settlement in Afghanistan.

“We have frequent conversations with our Indian partners on bringing down cross-border terrorism,” said Alice Wells, the US principal deputy secretary of state for South and Central Asia Affairs, while briefing the Indian media.

Stating that Indian PM Narendra Modi has already talked with his new Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan, Wells said: “We need conditions to be created for a constructive dialogue.”

The US statement reflects New Delhi’s position that talks and terror cannot go together. Wells said that they would like to collaborate with Pakistan to establish stability and political settlement in Afghanistan.

“Secretary Pompeo’s trip to Pakistan was another opportunity for the secretary to meet the new civilian leadership there and describe the aspirations we have for the bilateral relationship,” Wells said. “We would like to be able to work with Pakistan to establish stability and a political settlement in Afghanistan,” she added.

She said the relationship of the US with Pakistan will be about whether Washington can stop Islamabad from supporting terrorists using its soil.

“There has been a very consistent message during Secretary Pompeo’s visit about our desire to work with Pakistan productively, constructively and the kind of concerns we have,” she said. Referring to US President Donald Trump’s new South Asia Strategy, she described it as a decisive step that states what the country believes needs to be done to bring stability in the region.

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