The U.S urged India and Pakistan to stay the course on improving bilateral relation in the wake of the latest terror strikes on two Indian targets – the >Pathankot air force base and the Indian consulate in >Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan . Describing terrorism as a shared challenge that “all countries in the region” must fight together, state department spokesperson John Kirby said the U.S “strongly encouraged the governments of both India and Pakistan to remain steadfast in their commitment to a more secure and prosperous future for both their countries and for the region.”
Struggling to contain a >flare-up between Iran and Saudi Arabia that threatens to impair its West Asia strategy, the U.S is relieved that responses from both India and Pakistan after the terror strikes do not signal any immediate risk of relapse into hostilities in South Asia. In >recent talks with India and Pakistan at various levels, the U.S has underscored the importance of their bilateral relations in the overall stability of the region. Mr Kirby reiterated the point on Monday, when asked whether the attacks pointed to Pakistan’s failure to act against terror groups targeting India.
“And we in the United States want everybody to treat it as a shared challenge. And the Government of Pakistan has spoken to this, has spoken very powerfully to this, and it’s certainly our expectation that they’ll do exactly what they’ve said they will,” Mr Kirby said, adding: “We’re mindful that there remain some safe havens that we obviously want to see cleared out. And we continue to engage with the Government of Pakistan to that end.”
Mr Kirby said the U.S has been clear “with the highest levels” of the Pakistan government that it’s counterterrorism operations must not discriminate among terrorist groups.
Sources indicated that U.S officials have been in touch with India and Pakistan over the weekend, but did not elaborate. On Sunday, the U.S had called upon all countries in the region to work together to disrupt and dismantle terrorist networks and “to bring justice to the perpetrators of this particular attack.”
Elaborating on the point that terrorism is a shared challenge, Mr. Kirby said Pakistan too has suffered. “Thousands and thousands of Pakistani soldiers have been killed. Thousands of Pakistani citizens – innocent Pakistani citizens – have been killed or injured by terrorist attacks….. And what we want….and will continue to work for is increased cooperation, communication, coordination; increased information sharing and increased efforts against what we all believe is a shared challenge in the region. ….we recognize there’s more everybody can do – not just Pakistan, but every nation in the region can do – because it is a shared challenge."