Home/ News / India/  India-Pakistan relations depend on Islamabad’s action against terrorists: US

New Delhi: The US on Thursday said the easing of tensions between India and Pakistan will depend on Islamabad's seriousness about taking action against those who engage in "cross-border infiltration."

Alice Wells, US acting assistant secretary for South and Central Asia, urged Pakistan to prosecute terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar - a long standing demand of India.

Wells said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it clear that New Delhi was not seeking US mediation or any third-party intervention on the Kashmir dispute with Pakistan.

"I think what we would like to see are the conditions whereby India and Pakistan can have a constructive conversation that leads to an improvement of relations between the two nuclear powers," Wells told reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

"And obviously, that is going to hinge off of counterterrorism, off of Pakistan’s seriousness of effort in ensuring that groups don’t take advantage and engage in cross-border infiltration, that there are serious steps to implement the (Paris based) Financial Action Task Force action plan that Pakistan has committed to, and which includes the prosecution of UN-designated terrorists," Wells said. "So whether it’s (Lashkar-e-Toiba chief) Hafiz Saeed who currently is in custody and under prosecution, but also leaders of Jaish-e-Mohammed, like Masood Azhar, who long have been able to exploit their presence on Pakistani soil."

Both the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed are terrorist groups proscribed by the UN. In India, they are accused of carrying out multiple terrorist attacks, including the December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament, and the 14 February suicide attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama region that caused the deaths of 40 Indian security personnel.

Tensions between the two countries, that escalated after the Pulwama attack, aggravated after India in August abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. India's decision evoked strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded diplomatic ties and expelled the Indian ambassador. India has said the scrapping of article 370 is an internal matter.

Wells said South Asia’s stability and economic growth has long been "unnaturally constrained" because Central Asia was not taking advantage of the natural north-south trade into India.

Pakistan has also not benefited from living next to a 1.3 billion-person market, she said, referring to India.

The benefits of improved relations between India and Pakistan are obvious, she said.

Wells criticised Khan for not speaking out against China, which has detained an estimated one million Uyghurs and other Turkic-speaking Muslims in Xinjiang province.

China is an all-weather ally of Pakistan. Beijing has often come to the rescue of Islamabad by scuttling global efforts to impose sanctions against Pakistan-based terrorists Maulana Masood Azhar, who heads the Jaish-e-Mohammed.

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Updated: 27 Sep 2019, 05:50 PM IST
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