Washington, Aug 16: Refusing to be drawn into the war of words between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, the US has said it is for the two countries to determine the pace, scope and character of any discussions on Kashmir.
"Our position on Kashmir has not changed. The pace, the scope, the character of any discussions on Kashmir is for the two sides to determine. We support any and all positive steps that India and Pakistan can take to forge closer relations," State Department Spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau said.
"We're aware of the clashes. We remain concerned about the violence and we encourage to all sides to make efforts for finding a peaceful resolution," Trudeau said at her daily news conference yesterday.
The State Department spokesperson, however, did not respond to questions on the remarks by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day address yesterday.
"I wouldn't speak to Mr Modi's comments, that would be for him to speak to," Trudeau said.
Prime Minister Modi brought up Pakistani atrocities on people of Balochistan and PoK in his Independence Day speech yesterday.
"From the ramparts of the Red Fort, I want to express my gratitude to some people -- the people of Balochistan, Gilgit and Pak-occupied Kashmir (PoK) -- for the way they whole- heartedly thanked me, the way they expressed gratitude to me, the way they conveyed their goodwill to me recently," Modi had said.
Responding to Modi's remarks, Pakistan said his references to Balochistan and PoK were an attempt to divert world attention from the "grim tragedy" that has been unfolding in Jammu and Kashmir.
India and Pakistan have been engaged in a war of words over Pakistan and its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's statements on the situation in Kashmir which has been witnessing unrest following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.