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Behind the Scenes, US ‘Nudging’ India to Start Dialogue With Pakistan

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had informed Pakistan that the Trump administration was willing to encourage a rapprochement between Islamabad and New Delhi, the report said.

News18.com

Updated:November 13, 2017, 3:06 PM IST
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Behind the Scenes, US ‘Nudging’ India to Start Dialogue With Pakistan
PM Narendra Modi with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Tillerson urged the Indian leadership to restart dialogue during his recent visit, the report said. (File photo: PTI)
New Delhi: The Donald Trump administration has been trying to normalise relations between India and Pakistan and Pakistan’s decision to allow Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is on death row, to meet his wife was a result of the efforts, a media report said on Monday.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged the leadership of the two nations to restart dialogue during his recent visit, Pakistan’s Express Tribune said. America's objective to normalise ties between the two South Asian rivals is part of its efforts to have a more focused approach on the Afghan endgame.

“Behind the scenes, efforts appear to have started paying dividends since Tillerson's visit, as there has been a noticeable reduction in violence along the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed Kashmir region,” the paper said.

Officials with the knowledge of the backdoor manoeuvres confirmed to the paper that the Trump administration wanted to see a lowering of tensions between the two neighbours. A senior official, who requested not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak to the media, said Tillerson had informed Pakistan that the Trump administration was willing to encourage a rapprochement between Islamabad and New Delhi.

Pakistan, however, publicly insisted that the offer to let Jadhav meet his wife was made purely on the humanitarian grounds. The former Indian Navy officer was sentenced to death after a Field Court Martial on charges of espionage and involvement in terrorist activities.

Officials are reluctant to link Pakistan’s decision on Jadhav as well as the brief lull in LoC clashes to the US intervention. They said it was too early to draw any such conclusions as the Trump Administration was still struggling to come up with a workable roadmap for Afghanistan and South Asia.

The official, nevertheless, made it clear that continued tensions between Pakistan and India would certainly undermine US efforts to bring some semblance of peace in Afghanistan. Historically, Islamabad has not been averse to third-party intervention, but India has publically opposed such approaches.

The official said the Pakistani side had urged the US to use its influence over India for the resumption of dialogue after a number of terror attacks in India.

It is, however, not clear if the two sides would resume the full spectrum of talks, considering the timing. Since Pakistan is also just a few months away from parliamentary elections, it is highly unlikely that structured dialogue would be restored. However, political leaders and officials may interact with each other as a result of US efforts in order to arrest any further slide in ties between Pakistan and India, the report said.
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