US Hopes Indo-Pak Talks Continue, BJP Urges Otherwise

Will India listen to the US and continue peace process? Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meeting with visiting US Secretary of State, John Kerry in New Delhi (June 24, 2013)

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Washington, DC – The United States on Tuesday (August 6) expressed hope that India would continue ongoing peace efforts towards normalization of relations with Pakistan, in spite of Indian government reports about alleged firing from the Pakistani side and the deaths of five of its soldiers in the disputed region of Kashmir.

Asked about the Indian claims of the deaths of five of its soldiers, Jen Paski, the US State Department spokesperson, told journalists at the daily briefing, “We are aware of these unconfirmed reports and are concerned about any violence along the Line of Control.”

Psaki noted that Washington’s policy on the longstanding Kashmir dispute has not changed, saying, “We still believe that the pace, scope, and character of India and Pakistan’s dialogue on Kashmir is for those two countries to determine.”

“We hope that India and Pakistan will continue the steps they have recently to improve their bilateral relations,” added Psaki.

In Delhi, however, the main Indian opposition party Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) suggested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should not hold bilateral talks with his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif during their forthcoming visit to the US for the United Nations General Assembly meeting.

BJP leader Yashwant Sinha condemned the border attack, telling journalists that, “there should be no talks with Pakistan until they keep the assurance given to Atal Bihari Vajpayee on January 6, 2004. There should be no talks at any level, especially at the level of the Prime Minister.”

“Pakistan has been openly flouting the ceasefire agreement and now even the fig leaf has gone. Why does Indian government not take this up with Pakistan through diplomatic channels?” Sinha asked.

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