Positive step towards greater peace: US welcomes India-Pakistan joint statement on ceasefire

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US President Joe Biden. (REUTERS)US President Joe Biden. (REUTERS) 3 min read . Updated: 26 Feb 2021, 07:29 AM IST Staff Writer 'This is a positive step towards greater peace and stability in South Asia, which is in our shared interest and we encourage both countries to keep building upon this progress,' the White House Press Secretary said

The United States has welcomed the joint statement of India and Pakistan to strictly observe all agreements on a ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and other sectors, calling it a "positive step" towards greater peace and stability in South Asia.

Hours after the national capital and Islamabad issued a statement on a meeting between the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) of two countries, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki welcomed the joint statement and urged both countries to keep building upon the progress.

The White House Press Secretary also said at her daily news conference that the Joe Biden administration remains closely engaged with a range of leaders and officials in the region, including those in Pakistan.

"United States welcomes the joint statement between India and Pakistan, that the two countries have agreed to maintain strict observance of a ceasefire along the Line of Control starting on February 25. This is a positive step towards greater peace and stability in South Asia, which is in our shared interest and we encourage both countries to keep building upon this progress," Psaki said.

Asked if Islamabad is doing enough in the fight against terrorism, she said, "But in terms of an assessment of that I would point you to the State Department or the Intelligence Department."

At a separate press meet, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the administration had called on the parties to reduce tensions along the LoC by returning to the 2003 ceasefire agreement.

"We have been very clear that we condemn the terrorists who seek to infiltrate across the Line of Control," he said.

'Continue to support direct dialogue between India-Pak on Kashmir'

"When it comes to the US' role, we continue to support direct dialogue between India and Pakistan on Kashmir and other issues of concern, and we certainly welcome the arrangement that was announced that will go into effect I should say on February 25," Price said.

He said Pakistan is an important partner with whom the US shares many interests.

"We, have been clearer in terms of this issue. Obviously, Pakistan has an important role to play when it comes to Afghanistan and what takes place across its other border. So clearly, we will be paying close attention, and we urge the Pakistanis to play a constructive role in all of these areas of mutual interests including in Afghanistan, including with Kashmir including with our other shared interest," Price said.

India-Pakistan joint statement

On Thursday, India and Pakistan have released a joint statement saying that they have held discussions regarding establishing a mechanism for hotline contact among both nations. Both sides also agreed to a ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) starting from 25 February.

Director Generals of Military Operations of India and Pakistan also reviewed the current situation across the Line of Control (LoC) and other sectors "in a free, frank and cordial atmosphere".

"Both sides agreed for strict observance of all agreements, understandings and cease firing along the Line of Control and all other sectors with effect from midnight of February 24/25," the joint statement said.

The two sides also reiterated that existing mechanisms of hotline contact and border flag meetings will be utilised to resolve any unforeseen situation or misunderstanding, it added.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had also said that India desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan, however, added that New Delhi's position remains unchanged on key issues.

India has a stated position that talks with Pakistan cannot take place until it stops supporting terrorists and infiltration.

With agency inputs

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