In a bid to cool off tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad ahead of US President Donald Trump’s visit to India on Monday, the White House said on Friday, pointed out that successful dialogue between the two nations would be possible “only if Pakistan cracks down on terrorists and extremists”.
“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,” a senior administration official said when asked whether Donald Trump would offer to mediate on the Kashmir issue again during his upcoming Indian visit.
Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will lead a 12-member American delegation to Ahmedabad, Agra and New Delhi on February 24 and 25.
“We continue to believe a core foundation of any successful dialogue between the two (India and Pakistan) is based on continued momentum in Pakistan’s efforts to crack down on terrorists and extremists on its territory. So we continue to look for that,” the official said.
“But I think the President will urge both countries to seek to maintain peace and stability along the Line of Control (LoC) and refrain from actions or statements that could increase tensions in the region,” the official told news agency PTI.
Remarks on Pakistan came as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has retained the country on its ‘grey list’ and has handed out an 8-point list that its government will have to deliver upon within the next four months.
The Paris-based international terror financing watchdog has also warned Pakistan of ending up on the blacklist if it does not fulfil the requirements put forward by the global body within the four months.
Based on its performance, Pakistan would be judged in the next plenary in October 2020.
Pakistan was placed on the “grey list” by terror financing watchdog in June 2018 and was given a plan of action to complete by October 2019 or face the risk of being placed on the blacklist along with Iran and North Korea.
Then in October last year, the FATF decided to keep Pakistan on its ‘Grey’ list for failure to curb funnelling of funds to terror groups Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and others.
Meanwhile, responding to a question on the Afghanistan peace process, 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. But we certainly would look to India to support this peace process — an important country in the region, important to the overall stability of the region. So I think if the issue comes up, that is what would be the request from the President”.
(With PTI inputs)