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Help de-escalate Indo-Pak situation, US tells its envoys

Last updated on: January 10, 2013 15:35 IST

Concerned over the rise in tension between India and Pakistan over the brutal killing of two Indian soldiers, the United States said it has been counselling both governments to de-escalate the situation and has instructed its envoys there to work in this direction.

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked to our South Asia people' about it on Tuesday and yesterday," state department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters. "She has instructed our Ambassadors to work with those governments, which they are doing."

"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 said.

The United States is urging both sides to take steps to end the violence, she said. "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, Nuland said. "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," she said.

Responding to a question, Nuland said that the US favours that the two countries should talk to each other to resolve their issues.

"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 United Nations, we'd obviously support that as well. But at the moment, we're urging them to talk to each other," Nuland said.

Earlier Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said, "We all hope that we can maintain peace and stability in the region. The Secretary (of Defence) has affirmed that on visits throughout that region, including to India."

The issue of 'tensions, historical tensions' between India and Pakistan, is one that Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, knows very well, he said in response to a question.

His remarks came after Pakistani soldiers, in a 'provocative' attack, crossed into Indian territory in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir and ambushed an Indian patrol killing two soldiers, one of whom was decapitated.

"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.

Lalit K Jha IN Washington
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