In view of the unprovoked firing by the Pakistani army killing two Indian soldiers, the United States hoped that the two neighbours would work together to maintain peace and stability in the region.

“We all hope — our Pakistani and Indian partners — that we can maintain peace and stability in the region. The Secretary (of Defense) has affirmed that on visits throughout that region, including to India,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters.

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

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

“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.

“We have all been affected by terrorism, and we believe that there needs to be a united front against terrorist groups operating in that region of the world and in others,” he said.

The department (of defence) officials have had regular dialogue with Indian counterparts, he said.

“As you know, Deputy Secretary (of Defense, Ashton) Carter has been asked to take on the role of looking at how we might be able to facilitate transfers more effectively and more efficiently with the government of India. And that process is ongoing,” Mr. Little said.

Earlier, the State Department asked India and Pakistan to take steps to end the exchange of fire and resume normal trade and travel across the Line of Control.

“We urge both sides to take steps to end exchanges of fire and to resume normal trade and travel across the line of control,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.

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