Ahead of US President Donald Trump's much-anticipated visit to India, a senior US administration official said on Friday that the country will encourage India and Pakistan to engage in bilateral dialogue to resolve their differences. The official's statement was in response to a reporter's question on whether the US President will repeat his offer to mediate on the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan.
"I think what you'll hear from the President is very much encouraging a reduction in tensions between India and Pakistan, encouraging the two countries to engage in bilateral dialogue with each other to resolve their differences," the official had said. "President will urge both countries to seek to maintain peace and stability along the line of control and refrain from actions or statements that could increase tensions in the region," the official added.
The official said that the United States believes that the core foundation of any successful dialogue between New Delhi and Islamabad is based on continued momentum in Pakistan's efforts to crack down on terrorists and extremists within its territory.
Last month, during his meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Trump had repeated his offer to "help" resolve the Kashmir issue between the two countries. However, India has maintained that there is no scope for third-party mediation.
Recalling US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement that the country has reached an understanding with the Taliban to reduce violence in Afghanistan, the official said that Washington looks forward to India's support for the Afghan peace process.
"We would just encourage India, as we are all regional countries, to do whatever they can to support this peace process so that it can be successful and we can potentially end 19 years of military, diplomatic, economic engagement," the official said.
"You know, that we can end the military engagement. We will be continuing our diplomatic and economic engagement, which has been there over the last 19 years," the official added.
Accompanied by a 12-member delegation, the US President will arrive for his visit to India on February 24.
(With inputs from ANI)