`US wants India, Pakistan to reduce tensions`

The US wants India and Pakistan to reduce tensions between them, the White House has said, insisting that the Obama administration would continue to encourage the two countries to improve their ties.

Last Updated: Dec 18, 2010, 12:14 PM IST

Washington: The US wants India and Pakistan
to reduce tensions between them, the White House has said,
insisting that the Obama administration would continue to
encourage the two countries to improve their ties.

"The tensions between the two countries are something
that the president discusses with each country when he`s
visited leaders in India or called leaders in Pakistan. And he
will continue to address that and take steps to ease any of
that tension," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said
at his daily news conference Friday.

Gibbs also noted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton`s
remarks on Thursday, when she said how important it was that
Pakistan took seriously the threat from extremists inside its
territory and redirected forces to meet that threat.

He said that there is much work to be done on taking the
steps that are necessary to address the safe havens that
continue to exist in Pakistan.

Separately, State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said:
"First of all, how Pakistan decides to deploy its military
forces is a decision for Pakistan. We`ve made no secret of our
desire to see Pakistan take more aggressive action against
extremist elements within its own borders."

"That is a threat to Pakistan itself. And as the
Secretary said, we have seen Pakistan shift its emphasis away
from the Pakistani-Indian border and more aggressively to the
Swat Valley and other areas where these extremists operate.
And no military has suffered more significant casualties in
undertaking these operations than Pakistan," Crowley said.

"But these were obviously decisions for Pakistan to make.
But the context of increasing dialogue and reducing tensions
between Pakistan and India is something that we have stressed
in our dialogue with both countries," he said.

The State Department spokesman said India has legitimate
interest in helping with the future of Pakistan.

"It has contributed significantly to development and
reconstruction projects within Afghanistan. And this should encourage that activity, even as we stress the importance
of dialogue between India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, other
countries. So no efforts like this are misunderstood," he
said.

PTI