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India downplays reference to Kashmir in US-Pak statement

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India today downplayed the reference to Kashmir in a US-Pakistan joint statement, affirming its commitment to resolve issues with Pakistan bilaterally and welcomed the focus on terror networks in the statement.

Asserting that the statement devotes considerable space to the issue of terrorism and that it was for the first time that LeT and Haqqani network are specifically mentioned in it, Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry Vikas Swarup said India also read the assurance about these two entities and terrorism in general offered by Pakistan.

“We hope that they deliver on these commitments,” he said.

When asked about India’s reaction on the US-Pakistan joint statement issued after a meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif which talked about resolution of Kashmir through peaceful means, the spokesperson said, “Let me make it clear that India has always desired resolution of all outstanding issues with Pakistan bilaterally through dialogue and peaceful means.

“It is Pakistan which has chosen terrorism as the instrument of state policy. We hope that this visit conveys a clear message to Pakistan that international community is deeply concerned about its support and sponsorship of terrorists.”

The US-Pakistan joint statement which was issued during Sharif’s visit to Washington said, “The two leaders expressed concern over violence along the Line of Control, and noted their support for confidence-building measures and effective mechanisms that are acceptable to both parties.”

“The leaders emphasised the importance of a sustained and resilient dialogue process between the two neighbours aimed at resolving all outstanding territorial and other disputes, including Kashmir, through peaceful means and working together to address mutual concerns of India and Pakistan regarding terrorism,” the statement further added.

Noting that two organisations are specifically mentioned -LeT and the Haqqani network- both are operating out of Pakistan and even Pakistanis do not deny it, the Spokesperson said, “In fact, this is precisely why it was a subject of discussion between Obama and Sharif.

“Obama has significantly also raised concerns about US nationals being held hostage by terrorist groups in that region. It is for the first time and LeT and Haqqani network are specifically mentioned in the US-Pak joint statement.”

In this regard, he also referred to the India-US joint statement last year when the two sides agreed to joint and concerted efforts to disrupt entities such as LeT, Jaish-e -Mohammed, D company and the Haqqani network.

“There is consistency in the US focus on LeT and Haqqani network,” he said.