US lauds India, Pakistan for moving ahead with talks despite Pune blast

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Washington, Feb.20 (ANI): The United States has lauded the leaderships of both India and Pakistan for not succumbing to provocation from militants and continuing with next week's planned foreign secretary-level talks.

Addressing a press briefing here, US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, Philip Crowley, said the February 25 talks in New Delhi, is extremely important for the United States, and Washington is pleased to see that both countries have decided to move ahead for the talks despite last week's Pune blast, in which 11 persons, including some foreign nationals, were killed .

"We are most pleased with the political courage shown by leaders on both sides that notwithstanding the attack which was directly aimed at derailing this dialogue, there is this political commitment to move forward with talks," Crowley said.

"This is vitally important. There have been times in the past where India and Pakistan have had formal and informal dialogue. We think that this is a vitally important relationship to stability in the region," he added.

Crowley stressed that the Obama administration supports positive engagements between India and Pakistan and is looking forward to some positive results coming out of the talks.

"We are encouraged that notwithstanding the tragic attack in India, that this is not derailing important dialogue between Pakistan and India. So I think this indicates that we have momentum on our side, that there are lots of things to be encouraged by, but I don't think we're at the point where we can declare victory," The Nation quoted Crowley, as saying.

It may be noted that External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had clarified that the next week's talks should not be seen as a resumption of the composite dialogue.

Diplomatic sources said that Pakistan is viewing the resumption of talks as the first step to resumption of composite dialogue.

Government sources here explain that the composite dialogue will not be just confined to foreign secretary-level talks, but will be and can be pursued at different levels.

Experts and commentators here believe that if no framework of dialogue is composed before the talks, it will be difficult to achieve anything. Others are viewing it as a good start to end the logjam in the stalled relationship. (ANI)

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