`Indo-Pak peace talks crucial to security of both’

The US has always supported Indo-Pak dialogue, a US official has said.

Washington: Noting that the recent peace talks
between India and Pakistan were heartening, a US official has
said that such dialogues are crucial to the security of the

"The administration is heartened by the fact that there
have now been three very significant meetings between India
and Pakistan commerce secretaries, foreign ministers --
cricket diplomacy -- and that in fact there are follow-up
meetings with home and interior secretaries coming up," Wed
Sherman said.

This kind of dialogue between the two countries is
absolutely essential, Sherman said in her confirmation hearing
for the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

"The US has always supported that dialogue. The pace and
scope and character of it is up to, of course, India and
Pakistan, and we can`t prescribe for them exactly how to
proceed," Sherman said.

But it is crucial to both of their security, to the future
of their countries, she said.

"In addition, it`s my understanding that Prime Minister
(Manmohan) Singh is in Bangladesh today, taking on even more
of what Secretary Clinton spoke about in her recent trip to
India, and that is seeing India as a -- really a central
player in South and Central Asia, taking on more and more of a
leadership role in the region," the official said.

"I think that`s important not only for India, but for all
of us, in terms of the security of the region," Sherman said.

"Over the past few years I`ve been to India and Pakistan,
both as a businesswoman and as part of Track II dialogues,"
she said.

There is a desire in both countries to move forward, as
difficult as their domestic politics sometimes make that, the
State Department official said.


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